1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
3 egg whites (reserve the yolks for the creme anglaise)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1 chunk of vanilla bean, split (or a dash of vanilla extract instead)
3 egg yolks (left over from meringue)
3 Tbsp sugar
4 1/2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 eggs, separated
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp coffee
a bit of runny jam, or berries blitzed with sugar and lemon
Start with the meringues: preheat the oven to 250, and grease 8 muffin cups or similarly-sized ramekins. Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch, and set aside.
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a mixer, and begin to beat, starting on low and gradually increasing the speed to high over the course of a few minutes, and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar-cornstarch mixture, and then the vanilla and vinegar. Continue to beat until the meringue is glossy and forms stiff peaks, an additional 4-5 minutes.
Apportion the meringue into the muffin cups/ramekins, filling them to the top (they'll puff up a bit as they bake, but then shrink back down). Place them into a casserole dish and fill the casserole dish with water until it comes halfway up the muffin cups. Bake for an hour, until the meringues are just beginning to color. Turn the oven off, and allow the cups to cool in the oven for another hour.
While the meringue is cooking/cooling, make the creme anglaise: Place the milk and cream in a saucepan, and scrape the vanilla beans out of the pod (and then toss the bean in as well). Bring to a simmer, and then remove from heat. While the dairy is heating, whisk together the yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Pour the hot milk and cream into the yolks, whisking all the while. Pour back into the saucepan, and heat over a low flame until the custard thickens enough that you can draw tracks in the back of a wooden spoon (~5 minutes). Remove from heat, and pour through a strainer into another bowl. Cool in the refrigerator (you can make this ahead if you like).
Make the chocolate mousse: Place chocolates over a double boiler, and let sit over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until melted. Set aside to cool very slightly.
While the chocolate is melting, place the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer, and beat until frothy. Sprinkle in the sugar, and continue beating until soft peaks form. Transfer to another bowl, and set aside.
Pour the cream into the mixing bowl, and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Take the remaining egg yolks, and place them in a large mixing bowl along with the whole egg and the coffee. Pour in the melted chocolate, beating vigorously so that the eggs don't curdle. Take about half the beaten egg whites, and whisk together to combine well and loosen the mixture. Then fold in the remaining whites, trying not to deflate. Fold in the cream.
To assemble the whole shebang: Take the meringue cups, and scoop out the innards using a spoon, mini ice cream scoop, or melon baller. Try to clear out ample space to fill with mousse without breaking through the meringue. Pack each meringue cup with mousse, then set them to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so.
After the mousse-filled meringue cups have chilled, slide a thin knife around the edge of each one to loosen, and turn them out onto a plate. Pour the chilled creme anglaise in a puddle around it. Place drops of your berry puree/runny jam on the plate, and draw a knife through to pull them out into heart shapes. Served to your loved ones.