Friday, 26 March 2010

Indulgent Chocolate Mousse

Part of the reason I find myself flipping through Leith's quite so often is that it's great for basic recipes. It's Delia for people who know how to boil an egg. After a batch of meringues left me with several egg yolks, I sought out a recipe for a classic chocolate mousse.

Rich chocolate mousse - unfortunately I ate it before I could photograph the bubbles.

The 'classic' recipe used whole eggs, so I opted for the 'rich' version instead. It was pretty simple to make, although as usual, me and boiling sugar do not get on. The recipe calls for the sugar syrup to be boiled to short thread stage. The suggested way of testing this is to dip your fingers in the sugar and see if a short thread is formed. I didn't fancy putting my hand in boiling sugar (I have definitely been there and done that) so I got the ancient sugar thermometer out instead. Annoyingly, while 'crack' and 'softball' were marked, short thread was not.

I figured that if Prue Leith was telling me to stick my hand in boiling sugar, it can't be that hot. I boiled it to around 80C, although finding the sugar syrup table in the book later (why is it not indexed?) I found out that short thread stage is actually 108.3C. So there.

This probably explains why my mousses were a bit denser than I'd expected, as the syrup and egg yolks didn't fluff up as much as the book said they would. They were still pretty damn tasty, and I filled 5 ramekins with a gloriously thick chocolate goo. I used very dark chocolate, and I think in recipes like this, it is a travesty not to. The chocolate gets watered down with cream and sugar during the process of the recipe, so using a milky chocolate to start with will just dilute it even further. You'll basically have a homeopathic chocolate mousse, and that's not going to cure any ills.

With hindsight, I think it might have been nice to swirl a bit of raspberry puree through as well. It is very rich, so a bit of fruitiness would balance that well.

Rich Chocolate Mousse (Adapted from Leith's Cookery Bible)
Makes 4-6 depending on ramekin size

70g granulated sugar
110ml water
3 egg yolks
170g very dark chocolate
300ml double cream

1) Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan gently. Heat until it reaches the short thread stage (a thread of about 1cm between a wet thumb and finger, or 108C/227F). Leave to cool slightly.
2) Give the egg yolks a quick whisk in a large bowl to combine them. Slowly pour in the cooled syrup, whisking all the time. Continue until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
3) Melt the chocolate in a microwave or bain marie. Fold the melted chocolate in to the eggs.
4) In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold this in to the mousse mixture.
5) Pour the mixture in to ramekins (maybe layer with some raspeberry puree at this point) and leave to set in the fridge for 4 hours.


Ania said...

I have been thinking of making the chocolate mousse for quite a while and even bought some good chocolate, so I suppose now is the question of motivating myself and having a go! :-)

Jenny said...

It's really simple, and the results are quite impressive given that it only takes about 15 mins of prep! Definitely give it a go.

Chele said...

I have such a soft spot for chocolate mousse! I think you did really well to get any photo's before scoffing the lot - it would be a HUGE challenge for me lol