I’ve always had a crush on chocolate mousse. As a child, it would be the first thing I would grab from the dessert bar at a buffet dinner. It would almost always be 1980’s fancy, spooned into a wine glass and topped with a strawberry. I hardly ever order dessert anymore (guess I misplaced my sweet tooth somewhere along the way) but if there’s chocolate mousse on the menu chances are pretty good I’ll find room for it.
I was approached several weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in joining JC100, a culinary celebration leading up to Julia Child’s 100th birthday. Slightly intimidated and with visions of flopped soufflés and burned beef bourguignon, I accepted the invitation. I admit to feeling relieved when this week’s recipe to cook was chocolate mousse. I can do chocolate mousse (and so can you.) It’s actually pretty easy, so don’t feel intimidated.
I swapped the orange extract for a splash of brandy. If you’re like me and more likely to have booze on hand than flavour extracts, add what you think would taste great. Coffee liquor? Grand Marnier? Creme du Menthe? Whiskey? Or leave it out entirely.
- 4 eggs, divided
- ¾ cups sugar
- ¼ cup orange liquor (optional)
- 6 oz (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate
- 4 tablespoons strong coffee
- 6 oz (1 cup) butter, softened
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup finely diced glazed orange peel (optional)
- Beat egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and falls back upon itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Beat in orange liquor.
- Set the bowl over a pot of not-quite-simmering water and continue beating for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is foamy and too hot for your finger.
- Then beat it over a bowl of cold water for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms the ribbon. It will have the consistency of mayonnaise.
- Melt chocolate and coffee over a pot of hot water. Remove from heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time, to make a smooth cream. Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and optional orange peel.
- Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on sugar and beat till stiff peaks are formed. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest.
- Turn into serving dish, dessert cups or petite pots. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.