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Simplest Chocolate Mouse from James Peterson

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James Peterson calls this the Simplest Chocolate Mousse. No use kidding ourselves. The instructions below are direct but they may not strike you as simple. The truth is that grand mousse has those essential steps that you cannot avoid. Now, Peterson has streamlined the process, made it very clear, and presented you with a pathway that will give you something smooth, chocolate to the core, tender, delightful.

It’s worth every twist of the whisk.

 

Simplest Chocolate Mouse

Yield: 6 portions

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs, allowed to come to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons water or strong coffee
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac, Grand Marnier, marc, kirsch, or any favorite brandy or liqueur (if you don’t want to include this, add 1 more tablespoon of water or coffee to the 2 tablespoons given above)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional if you’re using a brandy or liqueur)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 ounces of the best bittersweet chocolate you can find, chopped coarse
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (unless you’re beating the egg whites in a copper bowl)

 

Preparation:

Separate the eggs, reserve the whites, and combine 4 of the egg yolks in a medium-size heat-proof mixing bowl (stainless steel is ideal) with the water, Cognac, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. (Save the extra 2 egg yolks for something else or throw them out.) Set the bowl on top of a small saucepan of simmering water, but don’t let the bowl touch the water. Whisk the egg mixture until you begin to see the bottom of the bowl. Be sure you keep the whisk moving over the whole surface of the bowl or the eggs will overheat in those spots not touched by the whisk, and they’ll curdle. Take the bowl off the saucepan, immediately add the chocolate and butter and whisk until the mixture is smooth. If necessary, return the bowl to the saucepan of hot water to fully incorporate the ingredients.

Combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a mixing bowl (if you’re using a copper bowl, skip the cream of tartar). Beat the whites with a whisk (or the whisk attachment on an electric mixer) until the whites are fluffy and have formed soft peaks, 4 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until the whites are smooth and stiff, 2 to 3 minutes more, depending on whether you’re beating by hand or with the electric mixer. To make sure you’ve beaten them enough, hold the whisk above the bowl. The whites should form a point that sticks straight out and doesn’t sag.

Whisk about one-fourth of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture until the mixture is smooth and you see no traces of white. (This is to lighten the mixture so it will fold more evenly into the chocolate mixture.) Pour this chocolate mixture over the beaten whites and fold together by cutting into the mixture with a plastic spatula, sliding the spatula along the bottom of the bowl (where the chocolate settles), and folding the chocolate over the whites. When the mousse is well combined, with no streaks of egg white, scoop it out into a large, pretty serving bowl or into individual bowls or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap down so that it touches the surface of the mousse (otherwise a dark film will form). Chill the mousse in the refrigerator for 2 to 12 hours. Mousse will keep in the fridge for at least 3 days.

 

Source: Glorious French Food by James Peterson

 

 

 

 

Cream Puffs with Coffee and Drambuie Mousse

Yesterday, I promised you dessert. And here it is: small cream puffs filled with a coffee and liquor based mousse. These are delicate wonders, to be made and consumed on the same day. Creating them is relatively easy. Consuming them is not a problem at all.

This recipe comes from Egg by Michel Roux. Yesterday’s blog was a savory egg dish, poached eggs placed on top of onion tartlets. [www.cookingbythebook.com/blog/recipes/poached-eggs-onion-tartlets].

This dessert is truly a complement to that main course.

In Egg, this recipe is called Choux Buns with Coffee and Drambuie Mousse.  We Americans might not know what choux means, but “cream puff” brings up distant memories of whipped cream. Puffs are a fondly remembered dish, but one that many of are intimidated from making. The steps for choux pastry are unfamiliar to us, but if you just follow the guidelines below you will see some culinary magic: boiling liquid becomes a paste when flour is added then the paste is transformed into a rich dough as eggs are beaten in. The metamorphosis here from step to step is fast and fascinating. The results are palette boggling.

There are two recipes below, one for the Choux Buns with the mousse and the needed second one to create the choux, or cream puff, pastry, pipe, and bake into buns. The mousse is really your place to experiment. You can do the suggested coffee and Drambuie combination here, or experiment: more or less coffee, brandy or rum instead of Drambuie. The possibilities are endless.

Roux recommends five of these small pastries for each person. In my experience, people will not just eat one or two. So five is a realistic number. There will be demands for repeats on this dessert. Keep your wooden spoon ready.

Roll up your sleeves, dive in, and be prepared to be thrilled.

Cream Puffs [Choux Buns] with Coffee and Drambuie Mousse

Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients for the choux pastry:

1/2 cup milk
8 tablespoons butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
generous 1 cup all-purpose flour
4 medium eggs
egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk)

Ingredients for the coffee mousse:

generous ⅓ cup heavy cream
½ tablespoon superfine sugar
½ quantity crème patissiere, cooled [recipe follows]
4 tablespoons instant coffee powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water
5 tablespoons Drambuie, or to taste
confectioners’ sugar
unsweetened cocoa

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 40°F. Bake the choux pastry, and shape and cook the buns following the method in the recipe below. Let cool on a wire rack.

To make the mousse, whip the cream with the sugar to a ribbon consistency and fold into the cooled crème patissiere, then fold in the coffee and Drambuie.

Make a small opening in the side of each choux bun with the tip of the knife. Using a pastry bag fitted with a plain ¼-inch tip, pipe a generous amount of coffee mousse into each bun.

To serve, dust half the buns with a little confectioners’ sugar and the rest with cocoa. Arrange on individual plates or platter, allowing about 5 per person

Choux Pastry

Yield: 40 to 50 buns

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
8 tablespoons butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
generous 1 cup all-purpose flour
4 medium eggs
egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk)

Preparation:

Combine the milk, 1/2 cup water, butter, salt, and sugar in a pan and set over low heat. Bring to a boil and immediately take the pan off the heat. Shower in the flour and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Return the pan to medium heat for about one minute, stirring constantly, to dry out the paste. Tip into a bowl.

Add the eggs one by one, beating with a wooden spoon. Once they are all incorporated into the mixture, it should be smooth and shiny and thick enough to type. The choux paste is now ready to use. (If you are not using it immediately, brush the surface with egg wash prevent a crust forming.)

Pipe small amounts onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper in staggered rows using a pastry bag fitted with ½-inch tip. Brush with egg wash and lightly mark the tops with the back of a fork. Bake at 400°F  for 15 to 20 minutes, until dry and crisp soft inside. Cool on a wire rack

 

Source: Eggs by Michel Roux