For the first dessert recipe, here’s an easy but delicious one. Chocolate mousse; basically Pastry Chef 101. Most home cooks are intimidated by pastry and desserts. Heck, half the time we host dinner parties (when I actually have a weekend night off) I just put out some seasonal fruit and Haagen Dazs. Okay, actually we grab Humphrey Slocombe…
But after cooking all day for a spectacular dinner who has time to deal with dessert? We teach this chocolate mousse a few times a year in our San Francisco cooking classes and it always impresses. I like to serve it in ball jars and finish it with raw cacao nibs and sea salt for texture and contrast. You can make it the night before and let it set in the fridge. White chocolate makes for a great mousse as well, but that’s for another entry. Just one thing: make sure you use the best chocolate you can find. We typically use Valrhona. And don’t be in a rush when you are making the custard. If you heat it too quickly, you’ll scramble your eggs.
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
5 extra large egg yolks
16 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate, 61%
4 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt (optional)
Roughly chop all of the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Place on top of a pot with simmering water to create a double boiler and gently heat the chocolate until it has melted. Put the milk in a saucepan and bring this to a simmer. Set aside for a moment. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and the sugar and whisk together. Pour a small amount of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture to temper it and mix well. When the temperature is just slightly warm, add it to the saucepan with the rest of the milk and mix well. Return the saucepan over a low flame and mix constantly with a spatula until it has thickened, this is your custard. Pour a small amount of this warm mixture over the chocolate to temper it, stirring constantly. Once the chocolate is warm again, add the entire mixture to the chocolate and mix well until it is fully combined. Allow it to come to room temperature.
Whip the cream to medium soft peaks with a Kitchen Aid or handheld mixer. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate. When combined, pour the mousse into serving cups or bowls and chill for at least one half hour. Sprinkle with some chopped cacao nibs and sea salt to taste. Makes twelve one cup servings.