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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove mousse from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with raspberries and mint.