Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chocolate Mousse

Valentine's Day! Since the kids came along, my sweetie and I haven't been able to continue our tradition of dining out on Valentine's Day. So, in recent years we started having our indulgent meals at home with the family. And, of course, they must be finished with a decadent dessert. This year, that requirement was met by chocolate mousse.
I know there are those out there who will balk at making this recipe because it has raw eggs. Or, simply because the level of effort can be kind of a pain. But, it doesn't actually take that long - I think my husband occupied the kids for less than 1/2 hour which let me put the whole thing together, start to finish. And, I promise, this is well, well worth the results.
A few key pointers for those who are sold that the reward is worth the effort. First - you can make this with Baker's chocolate, but this is certainly one of those times when you can go ahead and splurge. Second - don't omit the coffee. We are not a coffee-drinking house, but a good lesson learned over the years is that almost all chocolate desserts are kicked up a notch with a small amount of coffee. For this, and other dessert applications, I keep a small box of instant coffee singles on hand.
The best part about making chocolate mousse this year? The oversight that Valentine's Day fell the day before my sweetie left town for work travel, and that I ended up with six portions left in the fridge the next morning. Clearly, one should not give that much chocolate, sugar & coffee to little kids when single-parenting, so I confess I over-indulged a bit. (And made one neighbor very happy.)

Chocolate Mousse
As adapted by David Lebovitz from Julia Child's recipe

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup dark-brewed coffee
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon water
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)

4. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.

6. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don't overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

7. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm. (May be kept in fridge up to 4 days, though it likely won't be around that long!)

No comments:

Post a Comment