I used to approach Valentine’s Day cynical, even if I wasn’t single. I liked disliking it. This year, I realized I love everything about it–chocolate, pink, giving/receiving gifts, baking, celebrating, homemade cards, hearts…I love love.
I woke up and had a chocolate chip pancake breakfast with friends, spent the whole afternoon in bed eating chocolate (which is now all over my new white sheets), then went to my favorite bar for a cheese plate and champagne with my best friend and finished it by watching When Harry Met Sally. Somewhere in that mix I also tackled chocolate mousse. I made Julia Child’s recipe, but used water in place of rum. I didn’t feel like buying rum and actually, the mousse was excellent without it. I also cut the recipe in half, which took a lot of math and a little luck. It was oh-so rich, the perfect sweetness and everything else a mousse should be. I topped it off with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. The recipe emphasized using good chocolate. I could not agree more. It will be as good as the quality of the chocolate. I used 70 percent Green & Black. Because my measurements might not be trustworthy, here is the full recipe.
Makes 6-8 servings/Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
- 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum or water
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) water
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and place a bowl on top. (I used a double boiler.) Melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water (double boiler), whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick. (It seemed for a while like it wasn’t working and then all of a sudden it was thick.)
Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Add in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.
Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, careful not to overmix.
Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.