Showing posts with label mousse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mousse. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2016

Chocolate Espresso Mousse

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.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Al's Jamocha Mousse

by Sheila Connolly

For some reason I seem to have lived in regions that produce some of the best-known chocolate in the country. In California it was See’s and Ghirardelli; in Pennsylvania, Whitman’s and Hershey; and in Massachusetts, The Baker Chocolate Company (the oldest producer of chocolate in the U.S., established here by Irishman John Hannon, who passed it on to Dr. James Baker in 1780). Let me put in a small plug for the small local chain Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, established in Massachusetts in 1956: when my sister was visiting a couple of weeks ago we stopped in at two of their stores (out of four) merely to inhale. They have a wonderful collection of vintage chocolate molds.

Anyway, I was reminded of all things chocolate when I read an article in The Boston Globe on April 23rd, about the evolution of Toll House Cookies (the Toll House Inn was located in Whitman, Massachusetts. Sad to say, the Inn no longer exists.)

The author, Dédé Wilson, analyzed the ingredients from the original cookbook (the recipe first appeared in 1938). The originator, Ruth Wakefield, used Nestle’s semisweet baking bars (and the recipe is now owned by Nestle).

Now that I’ve whetted your appetite—I’m not going to give you a recipe for Toll House AKA Chocolate Chip Cookies. There are plenty around. Instead I went hunting through my own files and found a recipe for Jamocha Mousse, which was given to me by a (male!) friend many many years ago. (The same guy also introduced me to grinding my own coffee beans and to bouillabaisse, and to him I am forever grateful.)

One note about this recipe: you will see that it uses raw egg whites. If you are concerned about contamination of the eggs, you can used pasteurized egg whites (or use eggs that have been pasteurized in the shell, if you can find them).

Al’s Jamocha Mousse

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6-7 ounces)
4 egg yolks
2 Tblsp rum (or other liqueur flavoring)
1 tsp instant coffee
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar

A note re the chocolate: when I first started making this recipe, I was not particularly sophisticated about chocolate, so no doubt I used the universal Nestle’s chocolate chips.  Now I have a wild and wonderful assortment of gourmet chocolate, mainly dark and bittersweet. If you aren’t into sweet desserts, you’ll probably like using those better. In this version I used three different dark chocolates: Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet chips, Ghirardelli Bittersweet, and our store brand Authentic Belgian Semisweet Dark Chocolate.

Melt the chocolate over very low heat in a double boiler (do not overheat!). I could say, use a microwave, but you’re going to have to cook your mixture in the next step anyway so you might as well use the pan.

Melted chocolate

Separate the eggs. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition (the mixture may look congealed at first, but have faith and keep beating). Keep the water at a low simmer and stir for a couple of minutes, to make sure the egg yolks are cooked (pay attention or you’ll get chocolate flavored scrambled eggs). Remove from heat (remove the top part from the bottom part of the double boiler).

Chocolate, eggs and coffee

Blend in the rum or other flavoring and the coffee. (And another note, about the coffee:  it used to be that instant coffee was everywhere, including instant espresso. Not so much these days. If you have it, fine. If not, use a little strong brewed espresso, or substitute a bit of liqueur in your favorite flavor.) Whatever you use, you should have the full two tablespoons of liquid. 

Egg whites: frothy

Beat the egg whites and salt until they are frothy. Gradually add the sugar, then beat until the mixture forms soft peaks. (And yet another note, this time about the egg whites. I’ve read that the pasteurized ones are harder to beat to a foam, so if you’re using them, add a bit of cream of tartar or lemon juice, and be patient.)

Egg whites: peaks

Stir a small amount of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then with a broad spatula, fold the chocolate mixture into the rest of the egg whites.

Chocolate and egg whites: just starting out

All mixed

Spoon the mousse into pretty dishes and chill.

Ready to chill (these are espresso cups)

When you’re ready to serve, garnish with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings (if you have any chocolate left by then!).

Makes about three cups. The number of servings will depend on the size of your dishes.

Coming June 2014. BTW, my protagonist in the Museum Mysteries, Nell Pratt, knows some very nice Philadelphia restaurants. And of course I had to test them first.