Chocolate Mousse

To inaugurate the new blog, I’m going to start off with one of my wife’s favorites:  chocolate mousse. This is a very firm mousse, which I prefer.

Chocolate mousse

Chocolate mousse, slightly before being eaten.

Mousse is a reasonably complicated dessert:  it takes several bowls, and several different beating steps.  But the end product is oh-so-worth it.

Chocolate melting.

Melt the chocolate carefully!

We start off by melting 6 oz. chocolate, 3 tbsp. butter, and 3 tbsp. liqueur together in a bowl.  I’ve decided to use irish cream for a nice flavour addition here.  Since I don’t have a real double boiler, I’m just melting it in a bowl set in a saucepan with about 1 inch of water to keep the temperature from rising too much.

While your chocolate and butter melt together, separate three eggs and beat the yolks in with three tbsp. of water and three tbsp. of sugar.  If you like (and I do!), you can also mix in 1 1/2 tsp. of powdered gelatin along with the water to give the finished mousse a firmer consistency.

At this point, your chocolate should be melted, so take it off the water bath and put in the egg mixture.  The eggs need to be constantly beaten until they thicken into a coherent syrup — you don’t want sweet scrambled eggs!  Once they’re done, take the eggs off and mix them into the melted chocolate.  This will form the base of the mousse.  Go ahead and let it cool down to room temperature.

Now we need to give the mousse that essential fluffiness.  We do this with two different beaten substrates:  egg whites and cream.  Start with the egg whites leftover from the separated eggs and whip them into a merengue with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and 1/4 cup of sugar.  We want a nice stiff white that can hold onto all the air we’re whipping into it.  Mix about a quarter of the egg whites into the base just to lighten the color and then carefully fold in the remaining whites.  This has to be done with a gentle hand so that you don’t lose your air.  Use a spatula and slowly pull up the chocolate from the bottom and over the egg whites.  Meanwhile, beat up about 1/2 cup of heavy sweet cream into a firm mass, and then fold it in the same way.

Serve it out into individual dishes, and put in the refrigerator to set for at least a few hours.  Top it with whatever you like (I’m fond of grated chocolate) and then indulge in the creamy chocolate mouthfeel of it. Make sure to save some for others, though! I guarantee that if you make some and your wife comes home to find that most of it’s eaten, there will be words.

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