Contributed by Caitlin Cicala, chef of the extraordinary chocolate mousse we enjoyed at our third dinner series, Burgers & Beer. When looking for inspiration for a new dish, I sometimes like to go to the grocery store or farmers market to see what jumps out at me. Other times, I seek out a dish tailored for a fabulous piece of dinnerware I come across. In this case, that piece of dinnerware was the iittala Essense cocktail bowl. I first saw them about a year ago and thought it would be decadent to eat chocolate mousse in these sleek stemmed bowls. Dinner 3 presented me with the perfect opportunity to finally do it.

Now my dilemma was how on earth was I going to make chocolate mousse for 12 people! I needed advice, so I sought out local expert Rene Becker, owner of Hi Rise, a local bakery. I asked if he had any tips and he told me about Callebaut chocolate, made specifically for chocolate mousse and carried by most Whole Foods

I looked at a lot of recipes, of all types--from cool whip amalgamations to frothy "cooked" egg blends. After failing miserably on one recipe that required I heat the eggs to 160F, I settled on a recipe (below) that emphasized simplicity. At 5am, the morning of the dinner, I broke out my never-before-used hand mixer, my Rösle kitchen scale, iittala mixing bowls, and a few other implements, and got to work. The recipe was easier than I had expected and the results were ideal; the texture light, and the taste bold.

When testing this recipe, it was easy to perfect but having the right tools is key. I was grateful to have the Rösle Kitchen scale on hand. Before embarking on a new recipe for a dinner party, especially a dessert, I recommend (if you have the time) you test it first and do not be afraid to seek out advice.


Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com.

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Raspberries (we got ours from the Kimball Fruit Farm) and fresh mint for garnish

Directions

  1. Finely chop chocolate; reserve. In a double boiler, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, quickly whisk in chopped chocolate until melted and cocoa until smooth (mixture will be thick). Cool to room temperature.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Whisk half of whipped cream into room-temperature chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Divide mousse among four serving dishes. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Remove mousse from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with raspberries and mint.

For recipes, read part 1. For more information on the table setting, read part 2. For more information on the ingredients, preparation, and event, read part 3.