18 April 2015

Dark Chocolate Mousse

My memories of chocolate mousse stem from the Ponderosa buffet.  Rich, fluffy, and chocolaty, it was always a dessert I piled high in my bowl.  I have had the thought of making my own chocolate mousse many times, but the Alton Brown recipe didn't intrigue me enough to do it.  AB's calls for espresso and rum, two ingredients I don't keep on hand, and my desire to make the mousse wasn't strong enough to make the investment.

Queue Geoffrey Zakarian's mousse featured on The Kitchen.  It was the Valentine's Day episode and we were having a family gathering at my house one Saturday morning.  For some reason, Food Network always seems to be on when we have a bunch of family over for breakfast.  I happened to hear Geoffrey Zakarian talking about how simple and delicious this mousse was, so I decided to surprise Valerie with some on Valentine's Day.

Emilie helped me make the mousse, and it really was as simple as Zakarian made it sound.  Basically it's just melting, whipping, beating and folding.  The only thing I didn't know for sure was how much to heat the egg yolks over the water bath.  I did it until they were just warm to the touch, and it came out perfectly.  I don't know if the temperature really has that much impact on the final result, but it worked for me.

The mousse came together in no time, and we were dishing it in serving bowls to cool.  After few hours in the refrigerator, we topped the mousse with whipped cream and some shaved chocolate and it was time to devour.  The first bite was all it took to realize this is probably the best dessert I have ever made.  The mousse was rich, dense, smooth, airy, and soft, with an intensely satisfying chocolate flavor.  Combined with the sweet lightness of the whipped cream, it just hit on all the right notes.  I really can't describe how amazing the texture was, I guess I'll just have to make it again to see if I can better put it into words.

Geoffrey Zakarian's Dark Chocolate Mousse

1/2 cup chopped chocolate (72 percent)
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
Whipped cream, for serving
Chocolate shavings, for garnish

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a simmering water bath.  After melting the chocolate, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks in a separate bowl. Set both bowls aside.

Add the egg yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer and set over the same water bath to slightly heat while beating them with a whisk. Next, add the sugar to the yolks and then transfer the bowl to the stand mixer set up with the whisk attachment. Beat the yolk and sugar mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and it doubles in size, about 5 minutes.

Delicately fold the melted chocolate into the yolks. Finally, fold in the whipped cream. Divide the mixture into 4 bowls or glasses and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Just before serving, top the mousse with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.

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