Friday, 9 November 2012

Chocolate Mousse a la Julia Child

The other day I was planning a dinner party, and I made a wonderful Braised Eye Of Round Roast from The Art of French Cooking.  It marinaded in a whole liter of Chianti, with Brandy and aromatic vegetables.  Then I braised it in the marinade and thickened it for the gravy.  It was amazing.  Long about 3ish that day, everything was cooking along and I realized that not only had I not planned a dessert, but everything else was done and I had time to make one!

I flipped through the desserts section, and kept seeing recipes that I did not have ingredients for... until I spotted Mousseline Au Chocolat.  I make it a habit to keep chocolate in my cupboard for impromptu cookies, real hot chocolate, etc.  This recipe also didn't call for any heavy whipping cream (which I never have!)  I had leftover coffee in the pot from breakfast, and orange liqueur from another recipe.  I think the orange liqueur would be the only thing that a normally well-stocked baking cupboard might not have.  I think any liqueur would work well - creme de menthe, Kahlua, even just straight vodka with a 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla or almond extract added.  I think it needs to be alcohol to make the eggs work properly but I haven't tried, so not sure - if you try it with regular coffee or something, let me know how it goes!

The recipe is made in 3 parts, but each one can sit and wait once it is complete, so if you need to make this while also doing other things it will work fine.  The yolk mixture takes the most time, so I made it first.  Then it sat there while I melted chocolate, basted my roast, got Anya up from her nap, etc, until I got around to finishing the other parts.  Worked out great.

The finished product was full of airy bubbles that made a nice popping sound when spooned into, but it melted into the smoothest cream in the mouth.  It really did not taste like orange or coffee - my guess is that no one would have thought those ingredients were in there - It just tasted like rich, creamy chocolate.  I will be making this one again, and often!!

Chocolate Mouse - from The Art of French Cooking 

by Julia Child, pg 604


The Yolks Mixture
3qt glass or stainless mixing bowl
Electric mixers or a whisk (I used a whisk - it takes a while, but you don't need to whisk fast)
4 egg yolks (save the whites for later)
3/4C powdered sugar
1/4C orange liqueur (or other liqueur)
small saucepan of barely simmering water (for double boiler - make the level of water low enough that it won't touch your mixing bowl)
a bow of cold water (I added  ice cubes) that WILL touch your bowl

The Chocolate
Small mixing bowl
same saucepan of simmering water

6 oz semi sweet chocolate (I had 4 squares of Bakers Chocolate, and I added 1/4C semisweet chocolate chips)
1/4C strong coffee (I used leftover from breakfast, espresso might have given more flavor)
1 1/2 sticks of butter, room temp (12T - yeah, its alot!)

The Whites
medium mixing bowl
electric hand mixers (unless you are super hard core... I'm not)
4 saved egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon regular sugar

  1. Beat the egg yolks and powdered sugar with a whisk until the mixture is pale yellow, thick and the mixture falls in a ribbon when drizzled into the bowl.  Beat in the liqueur and place bowl over the small saucepan of hot water.  Whisk continuously (doesn't need to be super fast, just don't let it sit and cook!) until the mixture is foamy and too hot for your finger.  Then move your mixing bowl over to the cold water and mix until the yolks have cooled to room temp. and will drizzle in a ribbon again.  Set aside - it can hold for a while.
  2. Place your chocolate (chop it roughly if you have baker's squares) in a small mixing bowl along with the coffee - YES you can mix chocolate and water!!  It has to do with the temperature you begin with when the water is added.  It mill melt together if you start everything at room temp, while the chocolate is still solid.  Place over your simmering water and melt - I used a rubber spatula to mix and mash as it melted - you need to keep the chocolate moving while it melts into the coffee.  
  3. When it is finished melting, remove from heat and beat in the softened butter with a whisk - about 1T at a time.  When it is smooth and creamy, whisk the chocolate into the yolks - it should be room temp by now, and won't cook the eggs.
  4. In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form.  Sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff.  WHISK in 1/4 of the mixture - this lightened the heavy chocolate to make it easier to fold.  Then, gently fold in the rest, incorporating as much of the white as you can - a few streaks or lumps may remain.  
  5. Pour into a large serving dish, or into individual serving dishes.  Serve with whipped cream if you have it, but I didn't have any and it was so rich that it didn't need any!
  6. Refrigerate 2+ hours, covered.  Makes about 5C of mousse - 10 1/2C servings!
Enjoy!

Alterations -
  1. You may stir in extras as you add the chocolate to the yolks - the original recipe called for candied orange peel.  Other ideas might be mini chocolate chips, nuts, crushed peppermints, espresso powder, etc.
  2. Lightly oil a 6C ring mold, pour in, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 4 hours until quite firm.  Dip mold into hot water for 1 second and unmold onto chilled serving dish.  Fill center with fruit or whipped cream (or both!)
  3. Line a serving dish with sliced ladyfingers, pound cake, etc.  Fill with mousse and refrigerate, then unmold onto chilled serving dish. Decorate with whipped cream and fruit.