All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Sunday, November 16, 2014

mousse au chocolat

Novemberrrrr.  As in brrrr.  We have had one morning with hard frost on the ground - and the windshield, and another with a coating of snow.  I had been working on a magazine article for January/February, which made me feel even colder, but then, a little magic.

I think I found my original mousse au chocolat recipe!  Long ago, when I worked in a French restaurant in Cambridge, that was often how my morning started - making a tray of this creamy, light but wonderfully chocolate dessert.  Somehow, I misplaced the original recipe, and tried many others, but it was never the same.  Today, I am over the moon with happiness, and the memories come flooding back.

A few months ago, I found a picture from that time:  Nick the waiter - who was still in high school, I think.  Another reminder of that lovely, airy little restaurant, where I worked the day chef shift .  The first several hours were mine alone, following the list the owner Sally had left for me the night before:  start two stocks, make the mousse, make a soup or two, prep the veg, check the vegetable and fruit delivery, maybe make a chocolate cake or roulade.

There was magic in those quiet hours in the kitchen.  A few times I had the evening shift, which was busy and noisy and the kitchen jammed with waiters and chefs, neighbors dropping in (including Julia Child, who sat on the garbage pail and chatted with us) , music playing:  nope, not for me.  For me, the kitchen is almost a meditation, though there are times I cherish friends and family in the kitchen, like Thanksgiving, or birthdays, or breakfast with the grandchildren.

Mousse au Chocolate (chocolate mousse):
This makes about 2 1/2 cups of mousse.

To make:
3 extra large eggs, room temperature, separated
pinch of kosher salt
4 ounces (1 bar) Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons cold water
1-2 teaspoons dark rum or triple strong coffee
2 tablespoons sugar

Place egg whites in a very clean mixer bowl, reserving yolks in a small bowl.

Break up the chocolate (reserving a small piece to grate on the top of the mousses) and place chocolate pieces in a microwave-safe china or glass bowl.  Add the 3 tablespoons water to the chocolate pieces and microwave 2 minutes, or until chocolate is melted.

Carefully stir the egg yolks into the warm (not hot!) chocolate and mix well, then add the rum or coffee and stir again.

Beat the egg whites on high using the wisk attachment, and adding the pinch of salt to the egg whites.  Continue beating, adding the sugar a little at a time to the egg whites.  Continue beating until the whites are stiff and slightly glossy.

Fold the chocolate mixture into the whites and carefully fold again and again until the mousse is well blended. 

Spoon or ladle the mousse into ramekins or glasses, cover gently with plastic wrap, and place in fridge to chill.  Grate with the reserved piece of chocolate bar just before serving.

This makes about 5 servings, depending on the size of the ramekins or glasses.

Hope you are all staying warm!


latabledenana said...

I love this post..things I never the Nick pic!
And your recollections..
Lucky you!
Thank you for the recipe!

katrina said...

Thank you, Nana! I had just started taking pictures with a Pentax, then a Nikon - and even learned to develop my own photos: the one of Nick really sums up the feeling of that time for me B.C. (before children) -

Barb said...

Love the photo of Nick - i really love the "feeling". Chocolate mousse - heavenly ! I must give this a try.

May I ask what magazine article are you working on? I know I would really love to read anything you write.

It's so cold here and we have a bit of snow, too. Much too early for winter :-(

katrina said...

Hi Barb - I loved working in that restaurant, it was bright and airy and cozy, and had a wonderful crew of interesting young people, I love the softness of that picture of Nick, too. I do the recipes and photos for a local magazine called Monadnock Table, great magazine spotlighting all the farms and small businesses around the Monadnock region of NH. You have snow? Keep it there! We had a little black ice, but just a flurry or two, thank goodness.