Based on the content of my blog, you may have inferred that I do not have much of a sweet tooth. This inference is, indeed, correct. If anything I have a “cheese tooth,” to the dismay of my oldest brother, who hates cheese, and is unable to make the majority of my recipes. So far, I have only made empty promises to amend this for him. Mind you, there are a few cheese-free recipes on here, but he objects to pivotal ingredients in those, as well. His dislike of cheese is only the tip of the iceberg.
Back to the task at hand: I don’t dislike sweets, but I generally don’t seek them out. I will go weak in the knees over a perfectly moist yellow cake, but I tend to scrape off the frosting. To most people, this is sacra-religious. I am also a sucker for instant Jell-O chocolate pudding, and I will make no apologies for this. The point of this babbling is that I am fully aware that my relationship with dessert is unconventional. And because of this, I have made a conscious effort to make and post a recipe that fits in the dessert genre. If you write a blog, and you have the slightest desire for people to actually read it, you must try to keep those readers happy. One of my readers (also known as, one of my classmates) recently requested a recipe for something sweet. She told me she likes to make the white bean chili, but longs for a dessert recipe to follow her magnificent meal. When a very busy person takes time out of her day to read your crazy food rants, how do you not comply with such a request? Thus, I have bestowed upon you an actual recipe for dessert, and I will try to do this more often.
I decided to make chocolate mousse because it is sort of like Mary Poppins: practically perfect in every way. It is composed of the world’s most delicious ingredients: dark chocolate, heavy cream, eggs, and butter. As if it couldn’t get any better, this recipe even has a splash of booze in it. Not only does mousse consist of the most delicious things, but it is comprised of them, and only them. There’s nothing else in it to dilute their flavors and textures. Their textures are then enhanced by the process: the majority of the components are whipped up independently before being combined together. This results in a mousse that is somehow airy and light, and, simultaneously, rich and creamy. If this sounds like an impossible feat, you will just have to make it, and discover what the impossible tastes like.
Chocolate Mousse (recipe from the late Gourmet Magazine)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao), chopped
¾ stick unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon Cognac or other brandy
1 cup very cold heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
· Melt chocolate and butter in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, gently stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.
· Meanwhile, beat yolks in a small bowl with an electric mixer until thick enough to form a ribbon that takes a few seconds to dissolve, 2 to 4 minutes. Whisk yolks into chocolate mixture along with Cognac, then cool to warm.
· Beat cream in a medium bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks.
· Beat whites with salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks.
· Fold whipped cream and beaten whites into chocolate mixture gently but thoroughly. Transfer to stemmed glasses, 4-ounces ramekins, or a serving dish.
•The eggs in this recipe are not cooked.
•Mousse can be chilled, its surface covered with parchment paper, up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.
I only changed 2 things in this recipe:
1. I made it with 7 ounces of chocolate, instead of eight. I did this for two reasons: someone on epicurious.com recommended it, and the chocolate bars I bought just happened to be 3.5 ounces each.
2. I also changed the booze. I used frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur, because hazelnuts and chocolate are such a lovely combination. To be honest, I’m not sure if it made a difference, so use your best judgment.
February 6, 2010