Monday, 19 December 2011

#2 and #3

I forgot to take photos - but really how many brown globs can you look at for inspiration?

A Christmas BBQ for the collected neighbours supplied me with an opportunity for another round of mousse trials and a wider test audience.

OK, so #2 was the molecular gastronomy version of chocolate mousse whipped into public consciousness by Heston, but actually captured first by Herve This. It's just chocolate and water, with the water being whisked into the chocolate to form an emulsion as the melted chocolate cools.

It was super easy to make, and for a hard core chocolate lover it has a purity to be admired. On the downside it was heavy. Maybe I didn't whisk hard enough - though the recipe does recommend you want out for over whisking rather than under whisking so who knows. Also, if you aren't a dark chocolate lover, this version might be a bit bitey. My kids found it unpalatable and to be honest, it was too much for me. I'm not clear whether the strict instruction for at least 70% cocoa solids in the chocolate is a form of taste snobbery or an actual chemical requirement - this may have more universal appeal if made with a milk chocolate?

#3 was based on Elizabeth David's perennial whole egg no cream classic recipe, except that at the last moment I added a little whipped cream to try and rescue the overly heavy result. I fully acknowledge user error here but making this version was a total nightmare.

I melted my chocolate and duly beat in my egg yolks in a thin stream but swiftly and the chocolate hardened to a solid mass instantly. I duly added my third of my egg whites to break up the mass as I believe I should have, but they were not nearly enough to break the mass up - it was still a solid lump. I added more whites but the idea I could 'fold' these in was ludicrous, and by the time I had anything like a pliable consistency, the air was fairly fully deflated from the whites. The resulting mousse was very unmousse-like and still very bittersweet, and since I am still hoping to find something both children and adults will eat I whipped a little cream and folded this in.

The resulting mouse was still too heavy and still too bittersweet - the 5 children who sampled it gave it mixed reviews - 2 couldn't get past the first mouthful or two. One of them was my son, who would happily eat dog shit if dipped in chocolate, so that's saying something. About half the adult samplers added plain cream to their mousse to try and lighten it. Again I wonder whether some milk chocolate mixed in with the dark, or more sugar or more cream would have helped. I'd also like to know if there's a better way to get from solid mass to mousse.

The adults also joined in with my musings over how low end restaurant mousse is made - several of us remarking how it tastes the same no matter where you have it (single supplier for the whole of Melbourne?) and nothing like anything anyone ever made at home. And while I don't wish to reveal myself to be any more of a bogun than many of you may think of me already - I'm not entirely adverse to the chocolate mousse we occasionally get as a freebie with our pizza delivery from the local pizzeria. It certainly feels blasphemous to say it, but so far the three trials I've run have all failed to inspire me at all to bother making it over buying what is no doubt some kind of hideous caricature of real food.

And this is so very unlike me! I am not a fan of packaged food over home made - of flavours or textures far removed from the source. [Except lolly bananas, but who could blame me there?] Members of my own foodie family have been known to have a go at me for being too heavily into 'quality'.

So what happens now? I am all out of inspiration and right now am feeling not at all kindly disposed to chocolate mousse AT ALL. Is this just my own version of Christmas overload? Performance anxiety? Reaction to so much gluttony? Am I lousy cook, do I have the wrong recipe, will this end well?

So please, please do tell me. I want an authentic French mousse. One that isn't hard to make, one that doesn't pucker my lips with bitterness, one my kids will like, one that isn't so heavy and rich that it can reasonably be eaten at then end of a full meal. Tell me what I'm doing wrong, give me the answer or the recipe, or the number of the guy that makes the stuff that all the pizza shops buy. Because time is running out!

19 comments:

Sheep Rustler said...

I've made it easily and successfully with just chocolate (milk chocolate) and separated eggs, but have no idea where I got the recipe from. Mind you I prefer it with a mixtuer of milk and dark chocolate. And served with very thick cream :)

Christine said...

I made a chocolate mousse for Christmas years ago. It was popular with everyone. Pity I can't quite remember where the recipe was. But it was way before the vogue for very dark chocolate. There were eggs, and cream I think.. It was very rich, I put it in patty pans, that was quite enough. I'll let you know if I remember anything useful.

Rachael said...

Yes mum used to make a recipe with separated eggs which wasnt difficult and was beautiful. I do a raw choc mousse which has the exact texture of mousse and only a slightly different taste and is tres healthy to boot. You need a high powered blender to combine dates, almonds, raw cacao and water. It really is divine!

travellersyarn said...

We have had a lot of success with the recipe by Patricia Wells in Bistro Cooking, and it is based on the recipe from Ambassade D'auvergne in Paris, and seems to be very fair replica. It is insanely rich. Let me know if you have trouble tracking it down.

Renee said...

Hi there! I don't know how officially "French" this is, but it was easy and fabulous when we made it. (Someone brought over a chocolate mousse cake spiked with tons of rum and I needed a kid friendly alternative last minute....)

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/heavenly-chocolate-mousse/detail.aspx

Good luck!!

Renee said...

Oh, and almost forgot - since it was really last minute, I sent the hubby out to get already whipped cream from the bakery to fold into it.

fiveandtwo said...

Chocolate Mousse from "In The Kitchen" by Michelle Curtis & Allan Campion.
200g dark choc,3 eggs separated, 250ml whipping cream folowed by the usual method. Choc. of your choice, good quality eggs and cream and you're on.

Jules said...

I've got (but not tried) Damien Pignolet's chocoate mousse- he's pretty classic and classy. Just choc, eggs separated, armagnac or similar, sugar and amaretti biscuits. Will bring tomorrow!

Ren said...

Oh Sooz, this post made me laugh. When I was at high school and uni, I worked (for 7 years) at a pizza place. And they made theirs by mixing in an electric mixer a standard instant brand (rhymes with nettle) with cold icy water. They bought it in big tins, I've never seen it in the supermarket, but I've never looked. Tasted good though.

Abbington said...

This gourmet traveller article gives some helpful info on the % cocoa solids question, as well as general tips on the process...
http://gourmettraveller.com.au/chocolate-mousse.htm
I've always used Stephanie Alexander's recipe (it is a no-cream, separated eggs technique one)

Anonymous said...

Well, my best recipe may not be authentic but it is loved by adults and children and is very simple: 100g of chocolate (the one you like best) melted, add a cup of cream and stir it till it is blended. Let it cool for 24 hours ind the fridge and whip it up.

I used also white chocolate and filled it in layers in bowls.

ggreat taste, no eggs involved.

brgds Gudrun from Germany

Ali said...

Fav choc mousse recipe is Nigella's Instant Chocolate mousse - link: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/instant-chocolate-mousse-4

Just don't tell the French about the marshmallows.......

trash said...

Am loving Gudrun's recipe. Will try that over the holiays I think. Can't add anything to the recipe front but if you ever track down the number of the person who used to supply the cafe I worked at with THE MOST DIVINE APRICOT MOUSSE IN THE WORLD EVER please to share, bc even 20 odd years later I still lust after that taste.

craftydabbler said...

My go to cookbook is the Joy of Cooking. It has a recipe that sounds good and I am happy to email it to you or simply post it here in the comments.

It calls for semi-sweet or bitter chocolate, unsalted butter, a liqueur or coffee, 3 egg yolks, coffee or water, sugar, 3 egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar, and heavy cream.

You can reach me at epplein at gmail dot com.

Anonymous said...

70% chocolate is regarded as too bitter in this household. 50% cacao butter contents is quite enough for bitterness. My recipe is from Nigella from how to eat (no cream, separated eggs, and no golden syrup!)

Greetings from Latvia!

Sara said...

Hooray for commitment!

I have used recipes from David Leibovitz ( originally Julia Child's) and from Smitten Kitchen. Both went down well with the crowd, but the Smitten Kitchen was my personal favourite!

Good luck!

Suzy said...

I can't help on anything authentic, but for easy and yummy I have made the chocolate truffle cake from the River Cafe cookbook (it's online here, scroll down a bit) - so easy and delicious and amazingly not as dense / rich as you would expect. I just saw a post about something similar served as mousse here. Good luck!

Meagan said...

Dorie Greenspan's fantastic Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse - simple and tasty

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2010/12/top_secret_chocolate_mousse

nicole said...

Well, general rule: If you don't like the chocolate you won't like the mousse. So get chocolate that you can all agree on and make your mousse out of that.

Your hard mass problem might have been because the chocolate wasn't warm enough, simply re heat over the simmering water? You want the chocolate warm enough to stay liquid after adding the yolks but not hot enough to cook the egg yolks. Also, separate your eggs and leave the whites in the fridge so they whip up better but leave your yolks out so they can be room temperature when adding to the chocolate?