Happy New Year, friends! I wish you all a wonderful, healthy, joyous 2011.
Typically we spend New Year's Eve out, partying away the night with friends. But this year we opted to stay in for a low-key evening with our kiddos; watching movies and eating some good food. I prepared some old favorites and tried out a couple of new recipes too... like this chocolate mousse.
Hey, just because I didn't shimmy into my lil' black dress to welcome in 2011 doesn't mean that the dessert shouldn't be worthy of a black tie affair!
This is my first try at chocolate mousse. I went with a basic recipe from Epicurious.com. It was was rich and decadent and intensely chocolaty....all that I hoped it would be. In the future, I may try some variations on this recipe, flavoring with espresso or liqueurs, but for this first attempt, I was very happy with the classic version.
This mousse began with a simple custard made with cream and eggs.
Heat 3/4 cup of the heavy cream in a saucepan until hot.
While the cream heats, whisk together 4 egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt.
Add hot cream to the egg in a slow stream, whisking until combined.
Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on a thermometer.
Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Now for the chocolate! This recipe calls for 7 oz. of fine quality bittersweet chocolate. Many of the fine-quality bittersweet chocolates sold at supermarkets typically contain 50 to 60 percent cocoa solids. If you choose chocolate with a higher percentage, your mousse may be slightly denser. I went with these 70% dark chocolate bars purchased at Aldi. The use of a darker chocolate did yield a mousse that was a bit heavier. I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, so the bittersweet flavor of the mousse was perfect for me. I would recommend using a lighter chocolate if you are not a dark chocolate fan.
Chop the chocolate and melt with your preferred method: double boiler, microwave, etc. I melted the chocolate until smooth in a glass bowl placed over a saucepan full of hot water. Whisk into the custard until combined.
Let the chocolate custard cool while you mix the remaining heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks.
Whisk 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate custard to lighten.
Then fold in the remaining cream, gently but thoroughly...
until the whipped cream is completely incorporated.
Divide the mixture into 8 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins. You can spoon the mousse into the cups, but I chose to pipe it in using my Wilton Decorating Tip-#1M Star. It's a $1.28 well-spent. I love to frost my cupcakes using this tip too!
Cover and chill for at least 6 hours. Top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.
Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
Chocolate Mousse from Epicurious.com
Gourmet | December 2002
2 cups chilled heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
Garnish: lightly sweetened whipped cream
Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer
Heat 3/4 cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot.
Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently.
Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool.
Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks.
Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.
Spoon mousse into 8 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours.
Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.
• Mousse can be chilled up to 1 day.
• To vary the flavor, you can replace the 1 teaspoon vanilla with 2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder (dissolve it in the hot cream) or 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or 2 tablespoons Cognac (either one whisked into strained custard).