Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Very Berry Chocolate Mousse

(I was going to call this "Cherry Berry Chocolate Mousse", but I only had blackberries in my freezer and no cherries!  I bet cherries would be good though, and I plan to use them next time.  Maybe I'll try some Amaretto in there too!)

For a Valentine's Day treat, I made chocolate mousse for my husband (and me!).  I used Julia Child's recipe (of course), but made some changes.  I am avoiding wheat and dairy so this is a less harmful dessert for me than most.  There is a lot of butter in it, but butter has very little lactose in it and is mostly fat so lactose intolerant people can usually have a bit of butter every now and then.  I find I can tolerate it in moderate amounts.  (This is not an everyday thing, but as an occasional treat, it's not too bad.)  There is no whipped cream in this mousse.  The creamy lightness comes from beaten egg whites.  This allows more of a deep, dark chocolate taste to come through since cream kind of dilutes (or "milks down") the chocolate.  Dark chocolate lovers out there, this mousse is for you! 

I made the following modifications to the recipe:
1.  I substituted Chambord for the Grand Marnier
2.  I sweetened it with agave syrup instead of sugar (1/2 cup instead of 3/4 cup since it is sweeter).
3.  Since the agave syrup made it more liquidy, I added some arrowroot powder to compensate. (Otherwise, it wouldn't thicken properly without the dry sugar.)  I didn't measure.  I just sprinkled some in, then when it didn't thicken enough, I sprinkled some more.  I probably used about 2 teaspoons or so.
4.  I simmered some blackberries with some more Chambord and agave syrup, reducing it to a thick compote, and used it to top the mousse.  The tartness of the berries balances the rich, sweetness of the mousse nicely.

You can use my modifications or make Julia's original recipe.  Either way, get ready for sinfully delicious goodness!  Actually, I've made the Grand Marnier and orange version with agave syrup instead of sugar and it was delicious as well.   Here is the recipe, straight from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (p. 604-5): 

"Mousseline au Chocolat
(for about 5 cups, serving 6 to 8 people)

Beat 4 egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup agave syrup) together until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and falls back upon itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon.  Beat in 1/4 cup of orange liquor (or Chambord).  Then set mixing bowl over a pan of not-quite-simmering water and continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is foamy and too hot for your finger.  Then beat over a basin of cold water for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms the ribbon.  (I put the arrowroot in at this point, if agave syrup is used.)  It will have the consistency of mayonaisse.

Melt 6 ounces of unsweetened, dark chocolate with 4 Tb.  strong coffee in a double boiler.  Remove from heat and beat in 6 ounces (or 1 and a half sticks) of softened unsalted butter a bit at a time, to make a smooth cream.  Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and sugar (or agave), then beat in the optional 1/4 cup of glazed orange peel* (see below for recipe).  

Beat 4 egg whites and a pinch of salt (in a separate bowl) until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on 1 Tb granulated sugar (I leave the sugar out, and it still comes out fine).  Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.  Fold in the rest.

Turn into serving dish, dessert cups, or petits pots.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  (You can top this with whipped cream, but I like to make berry compote or glazed orange peel and top it with that instead.)"

* "Glazed Orange Peel (p. 587)
  (for about 1/2 cup)

Remove the colored part of 3 orange skins with a vegetable peeler.  Cut into julienne strips 1 1/2 inches long and 1/16 inch wide.  Simmer in water for 10 to 12 minutes or until just tender when bitten.  Drain.  Refresh in cold water.  Dry on paper towels.

Boil 1 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup agave syrup) and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan to the thread stage (230 degrees).  Remove from heat.  Stir in the drained peel and 1 t. of vanilla extract.  (I add a splash or two of Grand Marnier at this point.)  Let the peel stand in the syrup for at least 30 minutes.  Drain when ready to use.  Under refrigeration, the peel will keep in the syrup for several weeks."

I know it seems like a pain to do all of this, but it's totally worth it!  My girl Julia knows what she's talking about.  Make this for your significant other, and they will love you!    

1 comment:


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