Saturday, August 13, 2011
Classic Chocolate Mousse
There are some dishes that are classics for a reason. Chocolate mousse is definitely one of them.
It was my uncle's birthday on the weekend and I offered to make dessert for the family lunch. My instructions were simple - chocolate and rich. My mind immediately turned to the rich chocolate mousses made by a family friend in my childhood. She used Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate and would serve them in small brown stoneware bowls with mint chocolate grated over the top. I loved them - I pretty much inhaled the petite bowls of incredibly rich, creamy deliciousness.
Over the years my tastes have changed a little from Dairy Milk to dark Lindt chocolate - preferably 70 per cent - so I have amended the mousse recipe to suit. I used a classic Australian Women's Weekly recipe (tried, tested and true, thanks ladies) and swapped the cooking chocolate for dark Lindt. In retrospect, I should have added a little more sweetness with a bit of caster sugar in the egg whites, and so I have amended the recipe accordingly below. Personally, I like it without the sugar but with enough sliced strawberries mounded on top to cut through the dark chocolatey bitterness, but if you like your mousse a little sweeter, add in the sugar by all means. I also recommend you remove them from the fridge for about ten minutes before serving so they soften a little and are a delight to scoop with your spoon.
You'll also note that I have found the perfect modern recreation of those brown stoneware bowls to serve my mousse in. If you'd like some of the same, head out to Bison in Pialligo and snatch some up. I love that they look like giant egg cups. Ihave a full collection in both brown and lime green. Sounds like a crazy colour combination, but I love them.
Classic Chocolate Mousse
- 200 grams dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70 per cent cooking chocolate), chopped coarsely
- 30 grams unsalted butter, diced
- 3 eggs, separated (they need to be fresh and make sure they are room temperature before you begin)
- 300 ml thickened (whipping) cream
- Optional: 3 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 punnet strawberries
Start by chopping your chocolate with a good sharp knife on a chopping board. Now, dice your butter, separate your eggs into separate bowls and whip your cream. You will need to use the same beaters etc to whip your egg whites in a short while, so make sure you wash and dry them thoroughly before you reuse them for the egg whites.
Put about an inch of water in a saucepan and then fit a heatproof bowl (something like pyrex) on top so that the water doesn't touch the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer then place the bowl on top with the butter and the chocolate. Stir constantly while they both melt until the melted chocolate looks satiny and smooth.
Remove from the bowl from the heat and stir in the eggs yolks (stir quickly, you want them combined with the chocolate before they cook!). The chocolate will thicken and look a little less satiny. Set aside to cool.
Next, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer or a Kitchenaid-style mixer until it forms soft peaks. If you like a sweeter mousse, this is where you add the sugar, beating it into the egg whites.
Pour your chocolate-egg mixture into a large bowl. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate and then, when completely combined, fold through the egg whites in two batches. Don't overmix, or else you will lose the airiness of the mousse.
You should spoon the mousse into six serving dishes - don't make the bowls too large, this is a very rich dessert so you don't need a lot in a serve. Cover with cling wrap and refridgerate for at least three hours. The beauty of this dessert is that it can be made up to two days ahead.
When you are ready to serve, take them out of the fridge and let them sit for about ten minutes. Take this time to chop up your strawberries (or rinse off some raspberries, if you're feeling like splurging a bit). Serve with the berries scattered on top.
Oh, and for all you Coeliacs out there - this is gluten-free. It just might give you a heart attack and send your cholesterol through the roof, but yum!