Last weekend, when I cooked the Beef Bourguignon and Gougeres, I also wanted to fix a French dessert. The first thing I made was a lemon yogurt cake, but after baking quite a bit longer than what it called for, it still wouldn't cook properly in the middle (not sure what happened there!). So I looked through my cabinets for the makings of another dessert, and decided to make Chocolate Mousse. I found the recipe I used on David Lebovitz's web site. You can always count on David for a good dessert. The recipe posted was one he adapted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It is a nice, gooey, but airy mousse made without whipping cream. I have decided that this is my favorite type of mousse, because you taste pure chocolate. So be sure and use good chocolate, as that's what you will taste. Also, have fun eating this dessert-it's fun to feel the air bubbles from the whipped egg whites pop in your mouth.
Six to eight servings
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf) by Julia Child.
6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
1 tablespoon (15ml) water
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.
2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)
3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.
5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don't overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.
6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.
Serving: I like to serve the chocolate mousse as it is, maybe with just a small dollop of whipped cream; it neither needs, nor wants, much adornment.
Storage: The mousse au chocolat can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.