Thank goodness for the approach of Valentine’s Day: the drugstore aisles are crammed with chocolates. Boxes of bon bons, pudding, pop-tarts—I will eat chocolate in all forms, but none is quite so decadent as chocolate mousse. In honor of good St. Valentine, my co-workers and I whipped up a bowl of mousse au chocolat amer (bittersweet chocolate mousse) from Joël Robuchon’s definitive cookbook of French home cooking.
The recipe begins, of course, with chocolate. And butter.
Robuchon has us melt the chocolate chunks and “seamlessly marry” them with softened butter.
Purchasing a hand mixer was the best decision I made in 2009. Here, Mary beats the egg yolks to a frothy pale yellow.
Here’s the chocolate mixture with both the egg yolks and whipped cream incorporated.
As you can see, it’s looking a little dry and chunky. While I wrung my hands, cooking veteran Jess Freeman-Slade recommended holding the bowl over a sauce pan of boiling water to soften up the mixture. A bit unorthodox, but it worked!
Now to whisk the eggs whites:
A friendly debate breaks out: is the egg whisk on the cover of The Complete Robuchon decked out in whipped cream or whipped egg whites? Click on the thumbnail for a larger view and vote:
Folding the egg whites into the chocolate mixture yields a texture that many more of us recognize as mousse. Phew!
Jess commented, “Don’t you always think that there’s something more to folding? Like there’s some technically correct way to do it, but you always end up just waggling the spatula around?” Too true!
The mousse chilled in the refrigerator for an hour while we chilled in my living room. The first half of the Jets v. Colts game was on, and New York was winning! On this high, we served the mousse:
Ooh la la, the mousse looks divine in these stemmed glasses.
A toast to Knopf, Robuchon, and chocolate.
Your humble correspondent:
How…how did that happen? The mousse just…evaporated…
We had a blast making this mousse, even if the Jets eventually lost the game. If you’d like to replicate—or outdo!—our efforts, stay tuned for next month’s cooking newsletter from Knopf for the full recipe. Not subscribed? Sign up here.