Ingredients have been lying around for a while now. It was on Saturday night, after a whole day of chocolate craving that I finally decided to get off my bum and get whipping.
I don’t believe in that sorry excuse of chocolate mousse that you find in every nook and cranny. Set with gelatine, it is rather a watery excuse bland in flavour. The real chocolate mousse does not need gelatine to set as it sets by itself. That is, if it is properly prepared.
Chocolate is heavenly to eat but it can be a b**** to work with. One has to be very careful with the mousse as well since if not properly prepared, it tends to be either too thin and watery (I believe that this is the kind that hotels all over set with gelatine and wash their hands off it) or rather heavy and gluggy. The proper chocolate mousse is airy and light while also being rich and filling. It should burst with flavour in your mouth, lathering your senses with blissful chocolatey oblivion. It should hit you with force at the back of the head. The one in the picture does just that.
- 200g Cooking chocolate (I almost always use Ritzbury. Those of who are too posh for Ritzbury, shoo! No really, Ritzbury works for little everyday chocolaty indulgences like brownies, mousse and choco chip cookies. But it is rather low in cocoa mass so for more refined chocolate dishes [or when I’m feeling particularly finicky and extravagant], I swear by the Hansa dark chocolate 80% – 100%)
- 4 eggs – Yolk & white separated
- 4 tblsps Butter
- 250g Sugar (This is a rough estimate. If you are using unsweetened chocolate, you may need more than this)
- 200ml Whipping cream
- Strawberries (optional)
- Mint leaves (optional)
- Melt the chocolate. butter and quarter of the sugar in a pan (Ideally over a bowl of water but pfft! who has time for that?) However, if you are doing this over an open fire, be careful not to burn the chocolate.
- Beat together quarter of the sugar and egg white until stiff peaks form. Keep aside.
- Beat the whipping cream with the rest of the sugar till stiff peaks form. The idea is to aerate, aerate, aerate!
- Once the chocolate has cooled down to body temperature, add the egg yolks and beat the mixture well together.
- Now add the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg whites and gently fold through with a metal spoon until thoroughly combined.
- Add the whipped cream as well and fold through. You can either pour the mixture into individual molds/ramekins and refrigerate to set or just pour it into one large bowl to set.
For the chocoholic, this can easily be consumed (and wiped off clean in several large spoonfuls) by itself. Add in a few chunks of chocolate for texture and voila! Pure chocolate extravaganza. But for someone like me who appreciates layers of flavour and contrasts of taste in my food, I’d recommend the strawberry-mint combination. Minus side is, you cannot really preset with strawberries since the strawberries tend to bleed out moisture spoiling the mousse in the process. What I’ve done here is I’ve chopped up the strawberries and a few mint leaves, tossed them with some brown sugar and layered the mousse upon serving. One spoonful of mousse, one strawberry-mint layer topped off with more mousse. And then I’ve given it a good sprinkling of chocolate shavings. Works like magic.
Ah, that smell you get when melting the chocolate. So beautiful! Essentially Christmassy. This is the smell of happiness.
I was going to do a bitter coffee jelly to counteract with the rich mushiness and as usual, the laziness came over me. Couldn’t be bothered. Oh well…..
The mousse in itself is smooth, velvety and very very airy. It simply evaporates in the mouth, but not before coating your entire mouth with its rich and overwhelming fullness of flavour. The strawberries add a tanginess and a beautiful floral finish while the mint adds a leafy freshness leaving the palate blissfully cleansed. However, everybody may not like the addition of mint, so test it out, take preferences before heaping up the bowl with spoonfuls of it. As for chocolate and strawberry, they are a classic combo that everybody likes.
However to my surprise, I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve made something this chocolaty. I’m thinking, I just might be growing out of chocolate. I’ve come to appreciate more subtle tastes and layers now and somewhat avert myself from too strong tasting food. Could this be? I think my taste buds are finally growing up!