Celebrating François Friday on International Chocolate Day

It’s a double celebration! On International Chocolate Day, the François Ferreira Academy is celebrating our first ‘François Friday’. Since the passing of our founder and director, Chef François Ferreira on May 31 2023, we have decided to celebrate his life and legacy every first Friday of the month.

What better way to kick-off the celebration than with a chocolate dessert with Chef François’ twist?

Did you know that Chef François did not have a sweet tooth? Whilst he didn’t really enjoy desserts, he was a master at developing the most delectable desserts with amazing flavour profiles, like this Chocolate Brownie Mousse with a Chili & Brandy Sauce.

Chef François was the president of the South African Brandy Guild. It was one of his passions to get more South Africans to appreciate and enjoy our locally produced, world-renowned brandy.

In this video, Chef LG Coetzee, a longstanding friend and colleague of Chef François put together an amazing Chocolate Mousse Brownie, inspired by our late leader and mentor. Chef LG is a Patisserie Chef and fondly remembers how Chef François would lean on his opinion during tasting sessions when evaluating sweet dishes when training future chefs.

How does a brownie, with chocolate mousse and Italian meringue, candied orange, and a chili & brandy chocolate sauce sound?

Chef François Ferreira’s Recipe:

Brownie Layer:
400g Dark Chocolate Chips
270g Salted Butter
300g Light Brown Sugar
100g Caster Sugar
5 Large Eggs
5ml Salt
30ml Strong Coffee
200g Cake Flour
60g Cocoa Powder
2.5ml Baking Powder
60ml Milk


Preheat oven to 180°C.
Prepare a 23x 32cm baking tray with parchment.
Melt Chocolate and butter. Add sugar and mix well.
Lightly beat the eggs and add to the chocolate mixture.
Add salt and coffee and mix well.
Sieve cake flour and cocoa together and mix until incorporated.
Add milk and mix well. Level the batter in the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 – 30 minutes.

Quick Mousse:

500ml Cream (Meadowland Classique)
150g Castor Sugar
60g Cocoa Powder
60ml Good Quality Brandy (Chef F’s addition)

Add the cream, sugar, and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.

Add the brandy and mix until combined.

Candied Citrus:

200g (250ml) Sugar
500ml Water
2 Oranges (small), sliced

In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Add the citrus slices, reduce heat to medium and cook until slices are translucent, about 10 – 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer until the slices are tender but still intact, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the candied slices to a wire rack or a parchment-lined baking pan. Let it stand at room temperature overnight to dry.

Italian Meringue:

200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
60ml (1/3 cup) water
90g egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
1.25ml cream of tartar

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to medium-high and allow the syrup to come to a boil. In the meantime, add the egg whites to a medium-sized, heatproof bowl and mix (with a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) until foamy and the whites are almost able to hold soft peaks. Once the syrup is boiling, clip on a candy (or sugar) thermometer. Cook until the syrup reaches 116°C then take the pan off the heat and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the bowl with the foamy egg whites, mixing continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once all the syrup has been added, keep mixing until the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch and the meringue has cooled down to body temperature.

Chocolate Sauce

40g Caster Sugar
40g Butter
7.5ml Chilli flakes
Zest from 1 orange
30ml Cocoa +
60ml Water
60ml Good Quality Brandy

Add the sugar and butter to a saucepan and let it cook until the sugar starts to melt starts to melt. Add the chilli flakes and zest and stir to combine. Add the cocoa mixture and bring to a boil. Add brandy and cook for 3 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.


Cut 7cm diameter round discs from brownie. Pipe the mousse in the centre of the brownie. Pipe the meringue using a swirl nozzle around the mousse. Torch the meringue and decorate with candied orange and tempered chocolate decorations.