Bitter Chocolate Mousse

It's not good to follow up my last post with another recipe that's bad for you, I know, I know. But, I will put up two Cooking Light recipes directly after this, I swear.

The skinny is that our friends were visiting from Madison and we wanted to make them a fancy meal. I wanted to make them a dessert I'd never attempted before, but Greg convinced me to make my fabulous chocolate mousse recipe. The last time I made this, he ate so much that he went into some sort of diabetic coma/trance-state--it's that good (and bad).

What I love about this recipe is that it's actually quite easy to make, and uses a lot of common and inexpensive ingredients, and is impressive for company and family alike. It turned out perfectly and was so, so rich and delicious.

Bitter Chocolate Mousse
(from "The Complete Book of Desserts," by Martha Day)
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons orange liqueur or brandy (I used orange curacao)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar
Optional: Creme fraiche or sour cream and chocolate curls, to decorate

Before You Start:
Worried about whipping the cream and egg whites into peaks? Don't. The key to perfect peaks is simple. Before you do anything else, put a large and a medium glass or metal bowl in the freezer. Plastic bowls do not work as well, so you may end up tossing out egg whites if you use one. The medium bowl works well for the whipping cream, and the large bowl for the egg whites (which really multiply in size). Just keep them in the freezer until you're ready to use them--and you're sure to get perfect peakiness.

1. Place the chocolate and 4 tablespoons of water in a heavy saucepan. Melt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the liqueur and butter.

2. With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks for 2-3 minutes, until thick and creamy, then slowly beat into the melted chocolate until well blended. Set aside.

NOTE: Be sure to clean your beaters between the mixing of each ingredient. You don't want to contaminate the touchy cream or egg whites.

3. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Stir a spoonful of the cream into the chocolate mix to lighten it. Fold in the remaining cream.

Soft peaks in the whipping cream.

4. In a clean, grease-free bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until they form soft peaks.

Frothy egg whites with cream of tartar.

5. Gradually sprinkle on the sugar and continue beating until the whites are stiff and glossy.

Stiff peaks!

6. Using a rubber spatula or large metal spoon, stir a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites (do this by cutting down to the bottom, along the sides, and up to the top in a semi-circular motion) until just combined. Don't worry if there are a few white streaks. Gently spoon into an 8-cup dish, or into eight individual dishes. Chill for at least 2 hours, until set and chilled.


Pauline said...

Love your chocolate mousse - never known anyone to turn it down here eithe ;-)

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