When I lived in metropolitan Washington, DC and my mother came for a visit, we made up any excuse to go to White Flint Mall in Maryland. Look, Bloomies is having a sale! It's a nice day for a drive. I need a new teapot! And off we'd go, even if it was terrible weather, there wasn't a sale, and neither of us needed anything. We didn't have to ask where we would stop for lunch or a coffee break.
On the third floor, near the movies, was a small French restaurant. It was usually filled with gentlemen in suits having business lunches. We went for one thing—their chocolate mousse. It was dark. It was dense. It came with a tiny plop of whipped cream and a strawberry on top. And it was heavenly.
The restaurant closed years ago. The mall appears to have gone through rough times, lawsuits, and is apparently experiencing something of a comeback. But it will never be the same without our favorite mousse.
I was mighty pleased with myself for finishing my taxes as well as my mom's on Friday. My head was spinning. Seriously. If anyone ever deserved chocolate, it was me. So when Real Simple sent me a recipe for chocolate mousse on Saturday morning, I knew it was meant to be. The god of taxes, perhaps Thor (the way my head was pounding, it might be Thor), had sent me a reward.
This is not the deep, dark mousse that I remember. But it has to be the easiest mousse on the planet. Seriously, the next time you need to impress someone with a dessert, make this mousse a day ahead and plop a strawberry on top to serve it. They'll think you're Natasha.
As wonderful as this recipe is, I made a few teensy changes. For starters, they recommend melting the chocolate on the stove top. Wrong! The easiest way to melt chocolate with (in my humble opinion) the least chance of it seizing up is to microwave it. You'll see in the picture how beautifully it melted.
They also specified stirring with a rubber spatula. Hmm, not sure why. I used a wooden spoon. Some items react with metallic spoons. Maybe that was the problem they wanted to avoid.
And lastly, I added (gasp) two teaspoons of vanilla. Yum! If I had had raspberries or strawberries, I would have garnished it with them. Alas, I had neither. But it was still delicious!
Chocolate Espresso Mousse
from Real Simple
8 ounces semisweet chocolate ( I used Callebaut's chocolate chips)
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons instant espresso
6 tablespoons sugar (divided 4 + 2)
2 cups heavy cream (divided 3/4 cup + 1 1/4 cups)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Melt the chocolate in the microwave on short 40 second bursts. Stir in between. When melted, set aside to cool.
In a small saucepan, combine the egg yolks, espresso, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 3/4 cup heavy cream. Whisk. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden or rubber spoon for 2 to 3 minutes. It will be steaming, and you'll see it thickening on the bottom but do not bring to a boil.
Pour it through a sieve onto the melted chocolate. Whisk together and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Beat the 1 1/4 cups of cream with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. When it begins to take shape, add the vanilla and beat until it holds stiff peaks.
Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture in thirds. Spoon into pretty serving glasses or cups. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Top with a raspberry or a strawberry as garnish.
|Microwave the chocolate to melt it.|
|Mix other ingredients.|
|Whisk and cook but do not boil.|
|Whisk chocolate with egg mixture.|
|Beat cream with sugar and vanilla.|
|Fold. This is the first third of cream.|
|Fold. This is the second third. See how it has lightened?|
|Serve in something pretty.|