This is a lovely light (and nondairy if you want it to be) chocolate mousse with intense chocolate flavor. It is the lightest mousse of all if you make it with water or coffee. Milk or cream adds a little body. Either way, you can top it with whipped cream, unless you are serving Albert himself. If you are using fresh farm eggs or are confident about the quality of your eggs, you can use the fresh-egg method instead of the heated (egg-safe) procedure.
6 ounces (170 grams) 54% to 62% chocolate, finely chopped (see Chocolate Notes)
1/4 cup water, coffee, or milk, or 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons brandy, rum, or liquor of choice (optional)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons (38 grams) sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons water
Lightly sweetened whipped cream or
Cocoa Bean Cream (recipe follows; optional)
Six to eight 4- to 6-ounce ramekins or dessert cups
1. Place the chocolate and the 1/4 cup water (or liquid of your choice) in a medium stainless steel bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is nearly melted. Remove the bowl and stir until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the liquor, if using, and set aside.
2. For the heated (egg-safe) method: In a medium stainless steel bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and salt until well blended. Whisk in the 3 tablespoons water. Set the bowl in a skillet of barely simmering water and stir with a heatproof silicone spatula, sweeping the bottom and sides of the bowl continuously, to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Continue until the eggs register 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. (You will have to remove the bowl from the skillet to check the temperature unless you are agile enough to both stir and hold and read the thermometer at the same time!) For safety, rinse the thermometer in the hot skillet water between readings. Remove the bowl and beat with an electric mixer at high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until the eggs have a texture like softly whipped cream.
3. For the fresh-egg method: Whip the eggs, sugar, and salt--without the water or heating step--at high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until the eggs have a texture like softly whipped cream.
4. Fold about one-quarter of the eggs into the chocolate. Scrape the chocolate mixture onto the remaining beaten eggs and fold just until evenly incorporated. Divide the mousse among the ramekins.
5. Chill for at least 1 hour, or until set, before serving. If you are not serving the mousse within a few hours, cover the ramekins with plastic wrap.
6. Serve topped with the whipped cream, if desired.
Makes about 2 cups
This is one of the first things that I made with cocoa nibs. It is the stuff of dreams. Don't miss it.
1 cup heavy cream
2 rounded tablespoons (20 grams) roasted cocoa nibs
Sugar to taste
1. Bring the cream and nibs to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes.
2. Strain the cream into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Discard the nibs. Chill the cream for at least 6 hours; it must be thoroughly cold in order to whip properly.
3. When ready to use, whip the cream, adding sugar to taste as the cream thickens.
Excerpted from Seriously Bitter Sweet by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Deborah Jones.
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