Okay, we’ve done chocolate mousse before, the one that uses the Top Secret recipe, and, while that’s good, this one is more stable, meaning that it’ll last a bit longer and has a few more uses. And, we’ll show you one of those uses by the end of the week (we hope). But, until then, you’ll just have to be content with plain old chocolate mousse.
This recipe comes from, oh, we aren’t going to say quite yet — that would give away our surprise — but, we will say that we cut it back to 3/4 of the original version (and are glad that we did, as we would’ve had way too much mousse, otherwise). We will say that this mousse is a bit more involved, and it will give you a bit of practice on using a double boiler (plus a bit a folding practice, too, but as a scratcher, you knew that had to be the case for mousse).
Eggs are from those free-range hens, right? Hens that live a healthy life produce healthy eggs. Simple, isn’t it? For the bittersweet chocolate, choose something with at least 70% cacao; we use Callabaut chocolate. If you buy in bulk (we buy it in 5 kg bars), the price is reasonable, and the quality is excellent. For the heavy cream, we actually prefer to use organic, as it doesn’t contain any thickeners, but we did pick up several quarts of non-organic when it was on sale.
Procedure in detail:
Make custard. For this, you’ll need a heatproof bowl and a saucepan that you can combine to make a double boiler. It’ll help if the mixer bowl will fit in the pan like a double boiler, too, as we’ll use both. Once you find a bowl and a pan, add about an inch of water to the pan and start it simmering. Whisk together the 3/4 cup (180 g if you measure by weight) cream, egg yolks, 3 tablespoons (38 g) of sugar, and the vanilla in the bowl. Place it over the simmering water and cook, whisking continuously, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. If you use a thermometer, it should read 165°F.
Add chocolate and cool. Once the custard is cooked, pour in the chocolate and continue whisking. Whisk until the chocolate melts completely. It may look as if the chocolate separated somewhat; ours did, but it turned out okay, so don’t worry. Once the chocolate melts, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature before making the Swiss meringue.
Make Swiss meringue. We’ve shown you how to make Swiss meringue several times before, and this is pretty much the same, except that it has far less sugar, meaning it’ll whip up fast and cool down fast. So, whisk together the egg whites,1 1/2 Tbs (18 g) sugar, and a pinch of salt in the clean bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Place over your pan of simmering water so that the bottom of the bowl is above the water, and cook, whisking continuously, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture looks opaque. Using a thermometer, cook to 160°F. Immediately place the bowl on the stand mixer and whip the meringue until it holds stiff, but still shiny peaks, about 2-3 minutes. By this time, the meringue should also be about room temperature.
Fold in. Use a wide rubber spatula, and, working with about a quarter to a third of the meringue at a time, fold it into the cooled chocolate mixture. Folding in smaller amounts rather than the entire amount at once is the secret to folding ingredients together. Each addition makes the mixture lighter, thereby making the next addition even easier to fold in without collapsing.
Whip cream. Clean the mixer bowl and whisk attachment, and place both in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill, prior to attaching them to the mixer. Pour in 3/4 cup of cold heavy cream and whip until you have stiff peaks, about 2 or 3 minutes.
Fold in. Just as with the meringue, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, making a nice light mousse.
Chill. Cover the mousse with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it sets, about 2 hours.
This is really good chocolate mousse, packed with chocolate flavor, smooth and creamy, and light as air. Now, we only tried a taste or two on its own, but that was enough to let us know that this is a great mousse. Naturally, the quality of the chocolate is going to determine just how good your mousse is, so don’t skimp on that. Oh, for serving ideas, you should be able to spoon it right out into nice- looking bowls and have at it. Or, you can hold off a few more days and see what we did with ours. Five stars.