I promise I will have more recipes from my CSA in the next few days (here’s a hint: collard greens) but today I want to take a break from the veggies to share something really outstanding! Last weekend my boyfriend and I had one of his old friends over for a bit of a feast, here is the menu: Maui ribs (for the boys – I’m a vegetarian), fork-mashed potatoes, kale, braised fennel… and of course dessert.
My boyfriend and I had been to a french restaurant the night prior and shared chocolate mousse for dessert. It was good but a bit heavy and dense for my taste. The next day I started thinking about what to make for dessert and lacked inspiration so I asked him what he wanted me to make. He clearly didn’t get his filling of mousse the night before and asked me to make more! I had never made mousse before so I set out to find a good recipe. I looked through many cookbooks but ended up looking to the chef who is a master of all things comfort food – Tyler Florence, though I did adapt his recipe slightly. Tyler’s recipes never steer you wrong. In fact, if you’re ever looking for some outstanding mac and cheese his is fantastic.
Ok, back to the mousse… it turned out to be quite simple and absolutely delicious. My boyfriend and his friend agreed that it was restaurant-quality! The best part is that if you have extra and cover it tightly with plastic wrap it will last in the fridge for a few days. Since you can make this ahead of time it would be perfect for a dairy Shabbat lunch for those of you who don’t cook on Shabbat. As a side note, the reason you want to keep it covered is that it will take on flavors of other things in the fridge – same reason you always want butter covered. Now for the recipe…
3 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
3 large eggs (grass fed and organic if possible), separated
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 cup heavy cream, cold
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
Put a medium/large mixing bowl in the freezer.
Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, stir, repeat until totally smooth. You can do this with a double boiler but I can’t imagine why you’d bother (more dishes to clean and more time). Let the chocolate and butter mixture cool. Temper the egg yolks with a bit of the chocolate mixture so that their temperature gets higher (we don’t want scrambled egg yolks in chocolate). Then grab a whisk and beat the egg yolks into the chocolate 1 at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form (a few minutes). Gradually beat in 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form ( a few more minutes).
Remove the bowl from the freezer, beat the heavy cream in it with an electric mixer until it begins to thicken up. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the vanilla and continue beating until the cream holds soft peaks. Do not over beat or you’ll end up with butter.
Now that you’ve got everything prepared, put it all together. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then, fold in the whipped cream. Make sure you don’t over work the mousse or it will be heavy (I think this is what happened to the mousse at the french restaurant I mentioned). Divide the mousse between 4 individual glasses. Cover and chill for several hours. Beat the remaining 1 cup heavy cream to make whipped cream for garnish. The mousse is fairly sweet so I wouldn’t recommend making the whipped cream sweet too – but it’s up to you. You could add a dash of cinnamon or vanilla extract though if you’d like. Please let me know how yours turns out and enjoy!