Friday, November 17, 2006

Chocolate mousse

I continue to experiment with the ingredients in chocolate mousse. Elizabeth David tells us that the standard recipe is 4 oz (115 g) chocolate with four eggs; and I think that her advice remains sound. More modern recipes often double that quantity of chocolate, losing, to my taste, the soft texture that a mousse should have. I have come to the conclusion that I do not like to include whipped cream: it enrichens the mousse in a rather cloying way.

Last weekend, I had two egg whites left over from another dish, and two whole eggs. By chance, I may have hit upon the perfect recipe.

115 g dark chocolate (I like Green & Black's in a mousse)
25 g cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites

Break up the chocolate, and place it in a glass bowl that you can suspend above simmering water in a saucepan, or in the top bit of a double boiler. Melt the chocolate. Stir in the butter, then the egg yolks. Whip the whites until they form peaks. Fold them into the chocolate. Pour the mixture into ramekins, cover with cling film, and chill.

This will make six after-meal treats, or four puddings if you're giving them to guests.

You could simply melt the chocolate in a saucepan; but you have to be careful, because it goes grainy if overheated. I am told that a microwave works well.

The chocolate goes stiff when you stir in the egg yolks. I am always dismayed by this reaction, because I want the mousse to be light; and I wonder what a mousse would be like if one made it simply with chocolate, a little butter, and egg whites. But you can loosen the mixture a little by stirring in some egg white, before folding in the rest more carefully.


Carla said...

What effect does the butter have? My usual chocolate mousse recipe is chocolate, egg yolks and egg whites.

Nicholas Clee said...

The first chocolate mousse I ever made was from a book called Simple French Cuisine, by Jenny Baker. She includes butter; and so have I, ever since. However, I no longer use as much chocolate as the 225 g (with four eggs) she recommends -- too much, in my view. A bit of butteriness is a nice quality to have in a mousse, I think.

Paul said...

Are all the ingredients (including the yokes and whites) while the mixture is being heated by the water?

Despite the gentle heat, doesn't it cook?

(I'm just trying to prevent myself from making chocolatey scrambled eggs in case I have misunderstood you).

Nicholas Clee said...

Sorry: I didn't make myself clear enough. You take the melted chocolate off the heat, stir in the butter, and then, one by one, the egg yolks. As I've written in the 6th December post, the mixture tends to seize up at this point, whether I allow the chocolate to cool or not. Then I whisk the whites, and fold them in.

Alisa said...

What about storage? Like until you're ready to serve it?
How far ahead can you make this, etc?

Nicholas Clee said...

I would make a mousse on the day I'm going to serve it, or on the night before. I'm no expert on food safety, but I suppose that you could keep the mousse refrigerated for about three days.

Alisa said...

Thanks! after I posted that I actually went to another cook book I have from over there(yeah, christmas!)and lookef around forits tips on chocolate mousse. Told me to let it chill for four hours in the fridge. *shrug* Oh! I just made a raspberry&lemon sort of puree/sauce for over top! It tastes glorious, I can't wait! ^-^