Yes, I know, this isn’t the most appealing title for a post, but I did get your attention didn’t I?
To help chase away those Monday blues, I highly suggest a pot of this silky chocolate mousse spiked with a tablespoon of espresso and paired with a crisp Cat’s Tongue, or langues de chat. Made from a basic cookie base: butter, sugar, flour, with egg whites and a dash of salt and vanilla, this delicate French cookie is the perfect snack to balance out an mmm-tastic chocolate mousse. Well, it’s just perfect for snacking really.
The recipe I’ve been using hails from Chocolate and Zucchini’s matcha version, making them the easiest batch of cookies to ever leave my oven. And, it’s a great blank canvas for infusing with a variety of flavors, depending on one’s mood, a little like a basic ice-cream recipe. I made the traditional version with vanilla to go along with this mousse, but am already thinking about wafers flecked with microscopic bits of orange zest, or candied ginger, or cinnamon and, perhaps, nutmeg?
Fortunately, Thomas Keller’s chocolate mousse recipe is as simple as it reads – no tricky creams or temperamental pastry sheets lying in wait to cause you grief. Of course that means that I don’t have any dramatic stories for you in this post, but I’m sure you won’t mind.
Keller suggests adding a few tablespoons of espresso, which I found provides a bitter undertone that brings out the intensity of the dark chocolate. If you’re a big dark chocolate fan, this might be an addition you’ll want to make. For future versions I’m thinking of experimenting with a few drops of armagnac or rum to see how it turns out.
Dark Chocolate Mousse (adapted from Bouchon)
Makes 8 servings
1 cup cold heavy cream
4½ ounces/ 130 grams bittersweet chocolate (between 60 to 65%), finely chopped
2 tablespoons/ 1 ounce/ 28 grams unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons espresso or very hot water
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
Whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate.
Combine the butter, chocolate and espresso/hot water in a bowl over a pot of hot, but not simmering, water. Stir frequently until smooth.
Take the bowl off the heat and let it cool until the chocolate is slightly warmer than body temperature. Keller suggests dabbing a tiny bit on your bottom lip, which should feel warm. If not, place it back over the pot of water for a bit to warm it up; a cool chocolate/butter mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.
While the chocolate is working towards the right temperature, whip the egg whites until they are foamy and start to hold a shape. Add the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
When the chocolate is just right, stir in the yolks, then gently stir in a third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites until just incorporated, then add the rest of the whites and finally the rest of the cream.
Spoon the mousse into a serving bowl or serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving. (The mousse can be refrigerated for up to a day.)