Imperfect Chocolate Mousse

When reading the great philosophers, Tolstoy recommends substituting chocolate mousse whenever you come across ambiguous platonic terms such as will, spirit, soul, and love.  Your reading might make more sense, or at least be more pleasurable.

Chocolate mousse is supposed to be transcendent.  But the mousse I make is a humble shadow of the divine sort.  People stilll seem to like it anyway.  Originally an accidental mistake, it has now matured into an imperfect intention.

My sister-in-law has asked for the recipe.   Like colour-by-number, I’m against recipes in principle.  In fact, the imperfect chocolate mousse is a good reason why.  If I had followed a recipe, I probably would not have happened upon it.  But she’s my sister-in-law.  So I’m not allowed to say no.  I’ll transcribe what I did and feel free to do it in your own way.

To make imperfect chocolate mousse, I commit the highest of chocolate sins by intentionally curdling the chocolate.  This produces a chocolate mousse that has bits in it.  It really isn’t mousse anymore.  But I like food with bits in them.  It’s evidence that the food is probably hand-made and therefore imperfect.

Once when I ate smooth, perfect chocolate mousse, I thought about cafeteria mashed potatoes: the sort of mashed potatoes shot through a gun or rehydrated with water, sitting in a large aluminum tub on a heat plate.  Its plastic wrap cover is stretching and pooling in condensation.  That’s gross.  I like mashed potatoes with bits.  I like chocolate `mousse’ with bits.  Oh well.

But if you use this recipe for guests, be warned.  You will likely have a foodie at the table who will criticise it.  This is the criticism of someone likely afraid of difference and trying to exert their superiority by claims to culinary knowledge.  Tell them they must have missed the joke.

`Duh, it’s intentionally ironic mousse.  I’m anti-emulsion.’

Never invite them over again.

With that out of the way, let’s turn to making the bitty mousse.  Here is the recipe, tested in my kitchen this morning, and transcribed by my daughter:

Now I’ll translate her transcription.

This recipe makes a small bowl of chocolate that will probably serve 4 people, unless 2 of them are my wife and daughter.

First, source your ingredients.  It’s chocolate mousse.  Your pleasure comes down to the chocolate you use.  I use Menier 70% cocoa patisserie chocolate.  You’ll probably be fine as long as you don’t use Hershey’s Kisses.

You need two eggs, preferably at room temperature.   You’ll also need 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 100 ml (1/2 cup) of cream.  You also need 2 large bowls, one for making whipped cream and one for making meringue.   Finally, you need one small bowl for whipping egg yolks, a double boiler, and a hand or table mixer will really help.

Begin by separating your egg yolks and whites, and break your chocolate into small chunks.  Bring up water to a low boil in a double boiler.  If you don’t have a double boiler, just set a pyrex or heatproof bowl on top of your pot of water.  Voila.  As Fancy Nancy says, that means `Ta-da!’

Make a meringue by whipping egg whites into a soft peak and then incorporate 1/4 cup (30g) of powdered sugar.  Your pale whites will turn into a bowl of magical pearl fluff.  If they don’t, then you might be making doubly imperfect chocolate mousse, which may be better than mine.  Put meringue in the fridge.

Make your whipped cream.  Whip your cream until it becomes light and fluffy.  You can overwhip cream quite easily and curdle it.  Don’t do that unless you want to make triply imperfect chocolate mousse, which may be better than the double or single version.  When they are light and fluffy, incorporate the remaining 1/4 cup (30g) of powdered sugar.  Put whipped cream in the fridge.

Now to the curdled chocolate.  Whip your egg yolks quickly.  Put chocolate bits in double boiler over low boil.  Stir while your chocolate melts into a glossy, smooth batter.  Once the chocolate is fully melted take it off the heat.  Slowly pour egg yolks into the chocolate.  The chocolate should curdle and loose its sheen.

(If you want to make boringly perfect mousse, add 2 oz of warm water to the chocolate before melting.  And, let the chocolate cool down for 2 minutes before adding the egg yolks.  Then proceed.)

Take the whipped cream, meringue, and curdled chocolate.  Put them at three corners of a triangle inside a large bowl and admire what you have done so far.  Then fold them together very quickly. Fold by running a rubber spatula under, over and in between the ingredients, whipping quick and long figure eights.  If you think too much about how to fold, you are probably doing it wrong.  Just relax and think about the perfect number eight.

Chill the mousse and you are ready for imperfection.  I like to serve mine from a chipped bowl.