However, one of my main goals while cooking Pepin's recipes was to make a traditional Chocolate Mousse. Feeling determined while at the grocery store I bought the ingredients. I laid the chocolate out on the counter as a helpful reminder. I glared at that chocolate every single day for a week. I'm pretty sure it was the only time I've ever felt like chocolate was evil.
I looked at the recipe sitting on the counter and the words glared at me. It all comes down to whisking egg yolks and sugar in a double boiler. I've tried. Lots of times. Never a success. It's as if I simple can't do it BUT, I will be so disappointed if I don't try, so...
I cracked the eggs in the bowl and rolled my eyes. I dumped the sugar in the bowl and let out sigh. With all the attitude one could muster I whisked the mixture over a double boiler. I second guessed myself a million and one times. Of course I have no idea what the mixture was supposed to look like and by now my arm hurt so I just decide to stop. I make the whipped cream. Easy enough. I melt the chocolate. Easy as can be. I go to mix the melted chocolate with the egg yolks and the whole mixture seizes up. I'm quite sure a few obscenities came out because my husband got up and left the room. He knows if things get to this point it all goes downhill. I add a few angry and hasty dollops to the mixture, per the instructions, and whip the tar out of the mixture. Imagine my surprise when the mixture becomes smooth. In utter shock I hurry up and fold in the whip cream as if the whole mixture will explode if I don't hurry. I look down at the bowl. Holy cow, I actually did it. I made Chocolate Mousse!
I'm pretty sure I let out a squeal. Then I tasted it, and tasted it, and tasted it. I pretty much ate one serving straight out of the bowl. I couldn't stop. Seriously, I'm pretty sure this Chocolate Mousse is the most ultimate, luxurious, addicting dessert ever. Hey, chocolate lovers...I'm talking to you. You need to treat yourself to this dessert. It is rich with intense chocolate flavor and a smooth, almost velvety, mouth feel. One of my favorite desserts.
Adapted from Essential Pepin
by Jacques Pepin
1/3 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons cognac
Notes: I used semisweet Ghiradelli
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the sugar and combine the rest of the sugar with the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Place the bowl in a skillet of hot tap water (or use a double boiler- I used a double boiler) and whisk the mixture for about 3 minutes, or until it is fluffy, smooth, and at least doubled in volume.
Beat the reserved sugar with the cream in a large chilled bowl for a few minutes, or until soft peaks form; do not overwhip. You need the cream to form soft peaks and not be overbeaten. The soft peaks is what creates the volume in the chocolate mousse. Transfer about 3/4 cup of the whipped cream to another bowl to use as a decoration and refrigerate.
Using a rubber spatula, combine the melted chocolate and cognac with the yolk mixture. If the mixture starts to seize (which mine did) or break down, immediately stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream to smooth out the mixture. Gently fold in the (remaining) whipped cream until incorporated. Transfer the mousse to a decorative bowl, cover, and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
At serving time, whip the reserved 3/4 cup whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Spoon the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and decorate the top of the mousse with the cream, or if you're a lazy cook like me, spoon dollops of the cream onto the top of the mousse and serve.
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