What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day? Cupid with his bow and arrow? Hearts and flowers? No, no, no. Chocolate, of course! Is there a more romantic dessert than chocolate mousse? Simple, yet elegant. The quintessence of velvety richness. Topped perhaps with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings. However, it can certainly stand on its own.
Many identify Julia Child’s chocolate mousse as the classic version and true, it has a unique mouthfeel that is airy, almost foamy. However, it uses eggs that are never cooked and, even though there is only a tiny chance of salmonella, I prefer a safer version that is rich and velvety.
There are just a few ingredients so the quality of the chocolate plays an important role in the outcome. Also, I suggest a bittersweet or semisweet chocolate containing between 50 and 60% cacao. A higher percentage will produce a drier result. Be sure to serve the mousse in pretty dessert goblets. And ladies, if you have ever doubted that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, you’ve never served him chocolate mousse.
Ingredients (8 servings)
2 cups heavy cream
4 yolks from large eggs
3 T superfine sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
1. In a small saucepan heat 2/3 cup cream just until it starts to steam.
2. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl.
3. Slowly add half of the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture until thoroughly combined.
4. Add the warm egg-cream back into the hot cream in the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 165 on a digital thermometer.
5. Off heat, stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate.
6. Chill thoroughly.
7. Whip remaining 1 1/3 cups cream in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.
8. Stir about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate custard and then gently fold in the remainder until no streaks appear. Serve chilled.
(adapted from a recipe by Rebecca Franklin)
Photographer Bill Brady