I had every intention of bringing you panna cotta today. And not just a recipe for it–you can get those anywhere. I was going to post all about the Best Way to Make Creamy Panna Cotta. It’s over on my Examiner page, though, and you are welcome to go and check it out–the link is in the side bar. Since it’s for The Examiner, I had to use my Grown-up Voice as opposed to my normal voice. Alas.
But I digress. Why, oh why have I changed my plans, you ask? Well, apparently, according to a dude on Twitter, today is National Chocolate Mouse Day. Yup, mouse. I take that to mean that, instead of chocolate bunnies and eggs and stuff, we should be enjoying wee chocolate rodents. I thought to myself, “Self, now you’re going to have to go into tempering chocolate and how to mold it without any bubbles and What Not.” And then I began to whine a little. I don’t want to talk about tempering. Deep down inside, I am underwhelmed by the ability to melt a bar of chocolate, temper it and then pour it into a mold. That’s not really cooking; it’s a craft project. Yes, there is skill involved in knowing the right temperatures and such, but with a good thermometer and some practice, you’ll be able to temper with the best. I really want to talk about a way to take chocolate, mix it with some Other Stuff, and turn a hard snap into a soundless creamy pouf.
So, bottom line: no chocolate mice today, folks. Nope. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, I am Not your girl. I’m feeling rebellious, so chocolate mousse it is! See, I just added an extra s to mouse. Oh, I wonder if that’s what Twitter dude meant in the first place. Nah, prolly not. While everyone else on the Hinternet will apparently be discussing and dissecting (ew) varieties of theobroma rodentia, maybe throwing in the odd feral gerbil or two, you, loyal readers, get to learn about mousse. Now you guys feel rebellious, too, right?
Mousse means foam. Foam is light and poufy. If anyone has ever served you a dense and creamy chocolate pudding and called it mousse, they are Lying Liars. A mousse should have air whipped into it. Not to knock pudding, but it will have to wait for Its Day. So, how to get air into some chocolate? You need to add some Other Ingredients that are really good at trapping air: eggs and cream. Now, there are a bunch of ways to make mousse. There’s the whip raw yolks with sugar, whisk in melted chocolate, fold in whipped cream and whipped egg whites way. That’s a good way, and it is The Way I consider Classic. There’s the Easy Way, which is to fold together melted chocolate and whipped cream. And then, there are some cooked ways, for folks who get squidgy about raw eggs. One cooked Way involves a pate a bombe. Sounds fancy, right? Not so much. It’s just yolks whipped together with hot sugar syrup–just like you’d start a French buttercream. there’s even a Way that starts with a custard base.
Pate a Bombe based Chocolate Mousse
This mousse gets firmer as it sits in the fridge. It is ideal for layering in a mold because it holds its shape well and is “sliceable.” Think about making, oh, maybe a stout cake and using this mousse as a filling and frosting. Then, pour a thin layer of ganache over the whole thing. Mother of mercy, why am I still sitting here typing? Because I am Selfless, that’s why. Now pay attention.
- 24 oz. heavy cream
- 2 oz. sugar
- 1.5 oz. water
- 2 egg yolks
- 8 oz. dark chocolate (I use 64%–use what you like)
- 4 oz. milk chocolate (I think I use 34%–ditto)
- heavy pinch o’ salt
- splash o’ vanilla
- splash o’ liqueur (optional)
Melt the chocolates together, and cool them to room temperature.
Beat yolks until light and poufy.
Cook sugar w/water to 248F. Stream sugar mixture into yolks and continue beating until very light, poufy and thick. And cool. You won’t have much–as you can see, it’s only 2 yolks and 2 oz. sugar. If your mixer won’t whip that small amount, you might need to tilt the bowl, use a hand mixer with whip attachment or just double the whole recipe. How sad would that be?
Whip cream and vanilla to very soft peaks–they should still slump a lot. The cream will continue to “whip” during the folding. If you whip it to medium or stiff peaks, by the time everyone is folded together, you will have overwhipped your cream and your mousse will be grainy. Tweed mousse is Unattractive and Easily Prevented. Don’t let it happen to you.
Fold 1/3 of the cream into the pate a bombe (yolk mixture). Then fold in the chocolate and liqueur (if using). End by folding in the rest of the cream.
This mousse will be soft and poufy to begin with, and you can serve it as is. If you’re going to use it to fill/frost a cake, use it now while it’s still spreadable.
Custard Based Chocolate Mousse
This mousse will hold its shape but stay soft and creamy. It quenelles beautifully. We used to make it in large batches and keep it in shallow third pans to quenelle as a dessert component. I am very glad I met the custard-based mousse. It’s good for a dinner party because it makes a fair ton, and you can make it the day before and scoop it the day of with no problem. You’ll notice this recipe is written in grams. I have a mixture both metric and avoirdupois measurements, and I’ve never bothered to convert one to the other–I’m kind of lazy that way, and my scale does both, so there you go.
- 190 g heavy cream
- 190 g whole milk
- 105 g corn syrup
- 1 1/2 TBSP vanilla
- 1 1/2 TBSP liqueur (hazelnut is nice; use what you like)
- salt, tt
- 190 g egg yolks
- 500 g chocolate (I used 300 g 64% and 200 g 34%)
- 900 g softly whipped cream
Melt and cool the chocolate. Put it in a Big Old Bowl.
Make the custard: heat cream, milk, corn syrup and salt to a simmer. Temper into the yolks, whisking madly. Pour the yolk/milk mixture back into the pan and heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Don’t let it boil.
Strain the custard into the chocolate and fold together with the vanilla and liqueur. Cool to room temperature, stirring frequently. Resist the urge to use an ice bath; you’ll just get the chocolate too firm.
Fold in the softly whipped cream. The mousse will be very soft. Pour the billowy goodness into Some Sort of Vessel and let it firm up in the fridge until you’re ready to scoop it. You can also pour it straight into individual serving dishes, if you’d rather.
And there you have it. Two recipes for chocolate mousse. More importantly, you have 2 techniques for said mousse. Don’t forget: 1)Pate a bombe method, and 2)Custard method.
Yes, you can sub. sugar or even agave nectar for the corn syrup in the custard mousse.
For those of you seeking out information on Chocolate Mouse on Chocolate Mouse Day, I apologize. I’m sure you’re bitterly disappointed. Here, I found this. It’s for you: Chocolate Mice. Consider it a peace offering, and try to settle for the mousse.