As Laura noted in her post on Monday (holy moly, did you check out that bread pudding?) we’re hitting Valentine’s Day a little early here on SPC. I was a bit surprised to see the pages of Pinterest turn from green (Healthy January Dinners!) to brown (chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!) last week so we decided we’d better get it together. Yes, I do live my life according to Pinterest, don’t you? Just as well, I’m going to need the extra time to work with Esme on the 27 Valentine’s we’ll be needing to send to school. That’s the deal, right? Every kid has to get one? Does it need to include some kind of declaration of love and/or affection? I’m really asking. The complexities of senior kindergarten relationships boggle me. To think I worried about health issues when I was pregnant with Esme! What I needed to be reading up on was what it means when Eleanor would rather play with Allegra or how does one stop sitting next to Sophie on the school bus when she will not stop bragging about her iPad?
Regardless of what we end up including in the school-bound Valentines, I’ll be saving the real love for home. I’ll be whipping up a batch of this endorphin-cueing chocolate mousse. This is one of those recipes you think is overly complicated so you don’t bother when really, it’s only a teensy bit complicated and the payoff is just so freaking worth it. The batch I brought home from this photo shoot was met with oohs and ahhs and then silence as everyone tucked in. The recipe comes from the latest issue of Bon Appetit, along with the adorable story of how this recipe helped editor, Andrew Knowlton win over his then girlfriend, now wife. It’s a pretty compelling mousse. Full disclosure, I altered the amount of whipping cream by accident and the results were still quite spectacular. Whether you’re loving up your family or trying to impress someone new, this is the ticket.
photos by Maya Visnyei
1 cup chilled heavy cream (I used whipping cream)
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup espresso, cold
3 Tbsp sugar
1/8th tsp kosher salt
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used 70% cocoa)
2 large egg whites
Pour 3/4 cup of your cream into a very clean bowl (I know your bowls are clean but things whip better in really clean bowls, okay?) until stiff peaks form. Place in the fridge to chill while you get everything else going.
Find your food thermometer – you don’t want to be scrambling for it when you really need it! In a large metal bowl, whisk together the eggs yolks, espresso, salt and 2 Tbsp of sugar. Place the bowl on top of a pan of simmering water – it needn’t be much water. You don’t want the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk constantly as the mixture cooks. Over just more than a minute it will start to lighten and will almost double in volume and become foamy. You want the temperature to be 160 degrees. Remove the bowl from the heat.
Now add your chopped chocolate and stir, allowing all the chocolate to completely melt so you get the smoothest possible texture. Then you’ll give it a stir every couple of minutes until it reaches room temperature.
Get out another super clean bowl (sorry for the mess, but you’re doing this for the ones you love, people) and beat your egg whites with an electric mixer until they become foamy. Keep mixing as you add 1 Tbsp of sugar, turn your mixer to high and allow stiff peaks to form.
Gently, gently fold your egg whites into your cooled chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Use a soft spatula here and just keep turning it over until you have a uniform colour. Stop! Now gently fold in your whipped cream until it is just combined – don’t crush too many bubbles.
Spoon your lovely mousse into ramekins, tea cups or whatever cute vessel you’ve got, cover each with cling film and pop them in the fridge. Chill them for 2 hours or overnight. Just before serving, whip up that last 1/4 cup of whipping cream to dollop on top. And garnishing with some fresh berries wouldn’t hurt either.