Mousseline Au Chocolat (Chocolate Mousse)
“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook – try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all, have fun.” – Julia Child
For about 5 cups serving 6 to 8 people
Melting the Chocolate
1 cup semisweet chocolate bits, or 6 squares semisweet baking chocolate
4 Tb strong coffee
A small saucepan and wooden spoon for stirring the chocolate
A larger pan with almost-simmering water
Place the chocolate and coffee in the small saucepan. Remove the larger pan with water from heat and place chocolate in pan in it. Stir for a minute or so until chocolate begins to melt, then let it melt slowly over the hot water while you go on with the recipe.
The Egg Yolks and Sugar
4 egg yolks
A 3-quart mixing bowl or the large bowl of an electric mixer
A large wire whip
3/4 cup granulated sugar (instant superfine if possible)
1/4 cup orange liqueur, rum, or Benedictine, or strained orange juice, or strong coffee
A pan of almost-simmering water
Place egg yolks in mixing bowl and start beating with whip while gradually pouring the sugar in a thin stream. Continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until mixture is thick, pale, and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon when a bit is lifted and falls back onto the surface. Beat in the liqueur or other liquid, and set the bowl in a pan of almost-simmering water. Beat at moderate speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until foamy and warm when tested with your finger. Remove the bowl from the hot water and either beat the mixture in mixer for several minutes until cool, or set it in a bowl of cold water and beat with your wire whip. It should again form the ribbon, and have the consistency of thick, creamy mayonnaise.
Adding the Butter and Chocolate
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) softened unsalted butter
Stir the chocolate again and continue until perfectly smooth. Gradually beat the softened butter into the chocolate. Beat the chocolate and butter into the yolks and sugar.
The Egg Whites
4 egg whites, room temperature
A very clean, dry bowl and beater
Pinch of salt
2 Tb instant superfine granulated sugar
A rubber spatula
Beat egg whites slowly until they begin to foam, then beat in the salt. Increase speed gradually to fast until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle on the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it; scoop the rest of the egg whites on top and delicately fold them in.
Chilling and Serving
Immediately turn the mousse into a lightly oiled 6-cup metal mold, a serving bowl, or individual cups. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.
If you are unmolding the mousse, dip mold for several seconds into hot water, run a knife rapidly between edge of mousse and mold, and turn a chilled serving dish upside down over mold; reverse the two, giving a sharp downward jerk, and the mousse should drop into place in a few seconds.
You may wish to pass with the mousse a bowl of lightly whipped cream flavored with powdered sugar and liqueur. If you are serving a ring-molded mousse, you could put the cream in the center and sprinkle with grated chocolate.