Monday, April 2, 2012

Chocolate Mousse Day


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Chef Diane

On Sunday afternoons, after church, I always eat lunch with my parents.  Normally we eat at their home, sometimes we go out to lunch, and occasionally I even bring lunch or take them out.  One Sunday, when I happened to take them out for lunch, we went to a restaurant that had a buffet, Sunday brunch.  This is a very nice place, I would say one of the best restaurants in our small town, and today was no exception.  I couldn't even tell you what we ate, but I can tell you what I will never forget.  As I finished my lunch, I went to browse the dessert table.  It was there I saw this wonderful sight.  Chocolate cake!  This wasn't any ordinary chocolate cake, there were three layers of moist delicious cake, and between the layers was a substance that I was sure came straight from heaven.  The cake was layered with light creamy sweet chocolate mousse.  It was so delicious that I took my time savoring each bite.  I am sure I could have eaten the entire cake, but since I was fortunate to have snagged the last piece, I wanted to make it last.   I stretched it out as long as I could, and I am glad I did.  I have never been able to find it again.

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Chocolate mousse is like pudding, only lighter and fluffier.  Mousse, which means "foam” originated in France in the 18th century.  The first written record of Chocolate Mousse in the United States occured in 1892 at a food exposition at the Madison Square Gardens in New York City.  According to extremechocolate.com, Mousse became as we know it with the introduction of egg whites, separated from the yolks. The introduction of electric mixers made the foaming process much, much easier. Whipping egg whites by hand is not as effective or efficient.  The success of making the chocolate mousse is to use the best chocolate available.  Below is a recipe from Alton Brown that received rave reviews.

Today is Chocolate Mousse Day.  If you can't find any at a local restaurant, you can try your hand making it from scratch, or using a box mix available in the boxed pudding section at your grocery store.  They even have some premade in the refrigeration section where the other premade puddings and jellos are.  So you have no reason not to celebrate this wonderful day, it only comes around once a year, so enjoy!

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Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups whipping cream
  • 12 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces espresso or strong coffee
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon flavorless, granulated gelatin


Directions
Chill 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in refrigerator. Chill metal mixing bowl and mixer beaters in freezer.

In top of a double boiler, combine chocolate chips, coffee, rum and butter. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly. Remove from heat while a couple of chunks are still visible. Cool, stirring occasionally to just above body temperature.

Pour remaining 1/4 cup whipping cream into a metal measuring cup and sprinkle in the gelatin. Allow gelatin to "bloom" for 10 minutes. Then carefully heat by swirling the measuring cup over a low gas flame or candle. Do not boil or gelatin will be damaged. Stir mixture into the cooled chocolate and set aside.

In the chilled mixing bowl, beat cream to medium peaks. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream in two doses. There may be streaks of whipped cream in the chocolate and that is fine. Do not over work the mousse.

Spoon into bowls or martini glasses and chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish with fruit and serve.

(If mousses are to be refrigerated overnight, chill for one hour and then cover each with plastic wrap)

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