Monday, February 8, 2010

A Weekend of Cooking

I've fallen down on my blogging duties with back to back dinner parties and house guests!

Saturday night I made a green lasagna filled with sauteed greens and lots of bechamel sauce and cheese. For dessert I made chocolate mousse. For some reason I never think about making puddings or mousse for dessert and was surprised at how simple, easy and quick it was to make and how nice the presentation is. After closing down my import store I ended up with a ton of hand painted Vietnamese sugar bowls which have, much to my surprise come in very handy on several occasions.

When I do it again I think I'd serve it in one big bowl garnished with sweeted whipped cream and chocolate shavings and let people help themselves. As nice as the individual covered pots are it's a rich dessert so if you go that route give less then you think - better to let people have seconds then to give too much of a good thing.

Chocolate Mousse

Separate 4 room temperature large eggs.

In a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water (or a double boiler if you have one - I don't) heat 2 T water* and 2 T amber or dark rum (I use organic Rhum J.M VSOP) and 6 ounces finely chopped 70% dark chocolate (Scharffen Berger is my favorite.) Stirring occasionally until it is all melted and has a consistent shiny look.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the 4 room temperature egg yolks.

Whip 1 cup heavy cream until it just holds it's shape.

Take the bowl with the 4 egg whites and place it over the hot water you used to melt the chocolate (that has been turned off ) but is still hot and quickly whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. TO BE VERY CLEAR all you want to do is slightly warm the egg whites you are not in any way cooking them, really just a couple of degrees above room temperature is all you want, just a few seconds of warming whisking all the while.

Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly incorporated . Fold in the remaining egg whites then add the whipped cream. Add a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Spoon into a serving bowl (or bowls) and chill for at least an hour before serving.

When you are ready to serve top with lightly sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shaving.

In addition if you are feeling ambitious simple shortbread, or butter cookies make a nice accompaniment. I made Almond and Meyer Lemon Shortbread.

*Water and the booze can both be switched out with good strong coffee if you are going to get rid of booth the water and the booze I would suggest doing anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon Vanilla extract - making sure that what ever you do that the total amount of liquid is still 4 T. If you are trying to avoid alcohol altogether be careful when buying Vanilla extract that you get one that is alcohol free one.

This is not a terribly sweet mousse if you'd like something sweeter with added sugar check out David Lebovitz's take on Julia Child's classic recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.


PaulR said...

Nice presentation! The bowls are really cute, and a bit of a surprise. On the booze, I know it adds richness and a bit of a kick, but if omitting, what might provide that same richness?

Urban Food Guy said...

Hey Paul, good question and it reminded me that I had put an asterix next to the 2 T of water then totally forgot to add the note! Coffee would work just fine as would a little Vanilla extract. I wouldn't add 2 T of Vanilla, but you could do 1 Tablespoon Vanilla and 2T Water, 1T Coffee. The coffee gives it a slight mocha taste which I like, but was surprised when a guest reacted violently against it (he hates coffee - go figure).

AVL Chris+Skip said...

love the bowls a lot. Could use to make individual vietnamese caramel clay pot dishes:

Love seeing that dragon fly pattern all over Vietnam--we bought some pieces, wrapped carefully into our luggage, and carted home. Month later, were in a huge Asiian supermarket in Charlotte and there was the WHOLE dragon fly assortment!

Chris & Skip

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