Being of a Certain Age, I can’t ever think of chocolate mousse without my mind immediately going back to the scene where the Swedish Chef chases a moose ’round the kitchen with a bowl of chocolate sauce and a spoon.
Here’s the recipe I’ve scribbled down, which is mainly Delia, with a touch of Nigel. I’ve compared it with a more voluptuous procedure described by Pomiane, for which I’m not sure my arteries are prepared.
Remember, cookin’ chocolate has more cocoa butter than eatin’ chocolate, so will behave a bit better when you melt it. You will need:
- 200g dark cooking chocolate
- 30g caster sugar, more if you have a sweet tooth or if the chocolate is really bitter
- 3 large eggs, separated (Pomiane reckons 6!)
- interesting things: finely grated orange peel, Cognac, etc., Pomiane devotes a number of pages to amusing things you can add
- 120mL warm water (Pomiane suggests 150mL double cream!)
Break the chocolate into its constituent squares and combine with the water in a glass bowl atop a saucepan of hot water, and allow to melt. Stir, but as little as possible.
Once it’s melted, and the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat, stir in the egg yolks, and combine thoroughly. The chocolate is likely to be hotter than the curdling point of eggs (both in the mid forties) so you might want to perform the old trick of putting a splash of the chocolate into the yolks and stirring, before returning the combined mess into the chocolate. Alternately, you could just wait for the chocolate to cool. (Pomiane suggests that once combined, the results are returned to the heat, until the egg yolks have thickened, as though you were making a custard. That sounds complex and dangerous.)
Meanwhile beat the whites to soft peaks. Then, beat in the sugar in three or four consignments. The whites will collapse a bit, and become shiny, yet strangely alluring.
Your next task is to combine everything. There are two irreconcilable objectives: (a) to produce a homogeneous mixture, and (b) not to knock all the air out of the egg whites. The trick is to (a) use a metal spoon and (b) sacrifice all the air in about a quarter of the egg whites by vigorously mixing them in to loosen up the chocolate.
Gradually fold in the rest. It will start by looking like this…
…but will eventually, after a few minutes gentle, patient labour, look like this…
…at which point it should go in the fridge, for at least two hours. Some people would have you putting this into individual ramekins or poncy wine glasses, but I’m having none of that bollocks. If my favourite bistro in Paris can serve it out of a large bowl, then that’s good enough for the likes of you.
Finished product below.
Börk! Börk! Börk!