Chocolate Mousse

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There is only one dessert to eat after Coq au Vin and that dessert is chocolate mousse. Now, if you’re anything like me and you love the movie “Rosemary’s Baby” you won’t pronounce that chocolate mousse, you’ll pronounce it “chocolate mouse” employing your best Ruth Gordon voice. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, get thee to a video store STAT).

Fortunately, this chocolate mousse recipe doesn’t come from a batty invasive neighbor who may have designs on my uterus but, instead, from our blog’s favorite non-batty aunt, Elise of Simply Recipes.

Elise’s chocolate pudding recipe has become a staple in our home and so when I decided to make chocolate mousse, I turned to Aunt Elise’s archive for advice.

And sure enough, right there, was her recipe for chocolate mousse. (It’s also the first result when you Google “chocolate mousse” so she’s the official chocolate mousse authority). Her recipe is based on one from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook and, like most chocolate mousse recipes, it involves some combination of whipped cream, whipped egg whites, and melted chocolate.

In fact, you could sum up the recipe in just four steps:

1. Whip 1 cup heavy cream to soft peaks and refrigerate. (I do this by hand using a big whisk so lots of air gets in.) [Put the bowl and whisk in the freezer a few minutes before and the cream will whip up easier.]

2. Make a chocolate base by melting 4 1/2 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate, 2 Tbs unsalted butter, and 2 Tbs coffee or espresso (I used powdered decaf espresso dissolved in a few drops of warm water) in a double boiler. Take off the heat and let the temperature drop until, as Elise says, it’s just slightly warmer than body temperature. You can test this by dapping some on your lower lip. Don’t get kinky!

3. Separate 3 large eggs. Take the whites and beat until foamy and beginning to hold shape (I used my mixer with a whisk attachment) and then add 1 Tbs sugar until soft peaks form. Your elements should look something like this (chocolate on upper left, whipped cream upper right, egg whites lower right, yolks lower left):

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4. Now you just mix and fold it all together. Stir the egg yolks into the chocolate (which should be at the right temperature) until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Fold in half the egg whites…

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…just until incorporated and then fold in the rest. Finally, fold in the rest of the whipped cream. That’s it!

You’ve made chocolate mousse. Spoon or pipe into ramekins:

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Refrigerate for 8 hours (I refrigerated for 6 and it was fine) and serve, as I did, with lots of freshly whipped cream, to which you might add Cognac (as I did the first night) or Grand Marnier (as I did the second night).

It’s a chocolate mouse Minnie Castevet would be proud of–next time I’ll make it with tannis root!

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