Monday, March 11, 2013

the cooking challenge (week 7): chocolate mousse

Last week, week 6 of the challenge, was more like week 666 in my kitchen (and elsewhere in my life, actually), so this week, to prevent further disaster, I made a deal with the devil. It didn’t involve eternal life or Chester’s soul or anything like that. Just some chocolate mousse and the ghost of Julia Child and the birth of a horned, cloven-hoofed baby. Anyway, I can’t really get into the details of my contract with Satan, but I can tell you a few things about chocolate mousse.

1. It’s far easier to make than chocolate brioche and so, so good: rich but also light and airy, chocolaty with hints of espresso and rum. You'll need to use most of the bowls you own and there's a fair amount of whipping, but this is why you own all those bowls, and that electric mixer. 

2. You must use good chocolate.

3. When you bring this chocolate mousse to a dinner party, one person won’t partake because there are raw eggs in it, which means there will be more mousse for you. Don’t be afraid to bogart the extra serving—you’re eating for two now! Yourself and the unborn spawn of the devil.

4. The person who won’t eat the mousse will eat a bowl of whipped cream.

5. Whipped cream is wonderful on mousse, but it shouldn’t be too sweet.

666. When photographed, mousse looks a lot like…poop. So there are no pictures of the finished product, just a few (homely) ones of the process.

Chocolate Mousse
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child via David Lebowitz 

6 ounces high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
 (I used Green & Black's 70%)
6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup espresso or strong 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.

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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 or mix with an electric mixer 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.

3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

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4. 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 add the vanilla.

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5. 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.

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6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

Bon app├ętit!

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