Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 6 & 7 - Simplest Chocolate Honey Mousse

It's Oscar Night!  Really?  Already?
It seems as the years go on and on, I get less and less interested in the Oscars.  I think the decline began when Julia Roberts won for best actress.  When she won, I thought, like everything else in life, it's not about merit, its about politics.  I don't think she deserved that Oscar based on her performance; there were much better in the category.  But she was Hollywood's little darling and won for that.   Thats the day I stopped caring.  I usually don't agree with who wins and I don't really get into movies enough to justify that 4 hour time commitment to watching it.

I suppose Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will be funny.  I'll see the first 20 minutes (to see who dressed up like a hot mess this year) and then switch over to HGTV or go read. 

Let's Talk Mousse!
I am obsessed with Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse Recipe.  I know it's a little putzy, but its definitely worth the effort.  Brian is the one who introduced it to me from the "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" cookbook.  I fell in love with it the first bite.  I tell my students all the time that they need to try this recipe.  In fact, we are making it for our French lab in the International Cuisine class I'm teaching this quarter.   I wanted to post it here for you to try.  Plus, you can see the difference between a quick mousse and a more involved recipe.

Mousseline Au Chocolat
From Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"

4 eggs, separated
3/4 c superfine sugar
1/4 c orange liqueur  (I use Grande Marnier)
6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp strong coffee
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
pinch of salt
1 tbsp regular sugar

1. Beat the egg yolks and superfine sugar together in a stainless steel bowl until it’s thick, pale yellow, and forms a good thick ribbon when you lift up the whisk.  Then, beat in the liqueur.

2. Set the mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat for a few minutes until it gets a little foamy and is too quite hot to the touch.

3. Put the mixing bowl in an ice bath and beat for another few minutes until the mix is cool.  It should form ribbons again.

4. Melt the chopped up chocolate and the coffee over hot water.  Beat in the butter, a bit at a time, to form a smooth cream.  Beat the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks and sugar.

5.  Beat the egg whites and salt in a stand mixer (or with hand mixer) until you get soft peaks. Add the regular sugar, and keep beating until you have stiff peaks.

6.  Stir in a quarter of the whites into the chocolate and incorporate until it’s well-mixed and loosened. Then, carefully, fold in the rest.

7.  Put the mousse in your glasses or serving dish and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.   Bon Appetit!

The Recipe:

Chocolate: $3.29
Honey: Had
Cream. $2.49

Total:  $5.78

I was a little skeptical with a three ingredient mousse.  A traditional mousse uses seperated eggs and is a bit more involved. (There's usually a lot of beating going on).  I'm sure this mousse will taste fine, it's the texture that may be a little off.  


Fast:  The makeup of this mousse is pretty quick...25 minutes total.  However, you have to refridgerate the finished product to let it set which may or may not make this recipe quick.  I suppose it only needs to chill for at least 30 minutes (if you want to serve it right away) or up to overnight.  I will warn you, the longer it sits in the fridge, the harder the mousse gets.   Make sure you let it sit out at room temp before you serve it.  

Easy:  Yes.  Melt the chocolate, let it cool, then whip some cream and fold it in.  Super easy.

Fresh:  This is the one that gets me and will probably cause some contraversy.  How does chocolate taste fresh?  Yeah, it's not moldy or bad, so it is fresh.  But, on the crisp, bright flavors aspect of this criteria, (that I normally use to judge this category), it doesn't match up.  It just tastes like chocolate which is neither crisp nor bright to me.  The honey is lost in the chocolate, so I suppose that could have made a difference in this category, but it doesn't. 

Overall:  This is a good, quick chocolate mousse if you need a last minute dessert.  The texture gets a little funky, because there isn't a lot of air in the mousse itself.  Also, the honey flavor disappears in the mousse.  I, nor Brian, nor our friend Nicole, could taste the honey.  Which is too bad, because I used a really good honey.

Well, seeing as I don't have any cooking events coming up, I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself in the upcoming week.  I suppose I should look for another part-time job.  I really would like to work at a coffee place to learn about coffee. So, I suppose I should hit the Starbucks or Caribou Coffee stores near me.  Hmmm...

Tomorrow is my day off, we'll see you Tuesday!

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