Friday, November 1, 2013

Rich and Decadent Chocolate Mousse

Rich, smooth and decadent, there's no better way to end a special meal than a bowl of luxurious Chocolate Mousse. As with many of its contemporaries, time has not been kind to this once proud dessert. People have added olive oil, basil, and even avocado, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, all in the name of clever modern twists. But when it comes to continental classics, I refer to famous food writer and cookbook doyenne, Elizabeth David. Her simple Chocolate Mousse in her cookbook, French Provincial Cooking, is pure and elegant. Simply take an ounce of chocolate and an egg for each person. Melt the chocolate, adding a tablespoonful of strong coffee, liqueur or brandy per person if you like. Stir in the egg yolks, then some cream. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then fold them together with the chocolate. Then pour the unpromising looking foam into oven-proof ramekins or decorative glasses and refrigerate until set. The result is absolutely divine. Deeply flavoured, yet wonderfully fluffy and light, it literally melts on your tongue.

Chocolate Mousse
Serves 4

4 medium eggs
120g chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
200ml cream
4 tsp sugar, or to taste

Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a bowl over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate begins to melt, turn the heat off. Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks, add the sugar, and whisk briefly. Mix the egg yolks quickly into the melted chocolate, followed by the cream. Then whisk in a third of the egg white. Fold the rest very gently into the mixture until just combined — be careful not to over-mix — and then pour carefully into bowls and refrigerate for at least four hours until set. Garnish with some shaved chocolate and a dollop of whipped cream, if you like.