Saturday 28 December 2013

Chocolate Mousse - a recipe for Emily

This recipe has been a family favourite for many years, and a particular favourite of one of my youngest cousins Emily. I usually make this for most of our major family get togethers, and it is always really well received by everyone. The special dishes that family contribute make up the fabric of my memories of our gatherings over the years. We still reminisce over all the things my paternal grandmother made for us. Joan was an absolute star in the kitchen and a culinary inspiration to all her 14 grandchildren. It would have been her birthday in a couple of days; I'm thinking of making some Afghans in her honour - she always made cracking ones.

I got this recipe from CPIT when I trained their over 15 years ago, and I have been making it ever since. It is super rich, so only a small portion will do most people.

Chocolate Mousse

250ml whole milk
300g good quality 70% cocoa chocolate - I used Whittaker's
4 eggs
50g caster sugar
8g gelatine
2 tablespoons Tia Maria liqueur
400ml cream

Separate the eggs and set the whites aside. 

Hydrate the gelatine with a few tablespoons of cold water and set aside to swell. 

Beat the yolks together with the caster sugar until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy. 

At the same time heat the milk in a heavy based saucepan until it reaches boiling point. 

Pour the milk into the yolks and whisk until combined. It is particularly important to add the milk to the yolks: done the other way around the eggs will cook and scramble. 

Clean the bottom of the pot and transfer the eggs and milk back into the pot. 

Using a spatula gently heat the mixture, stirring it constantly until it starts to thicken. 

If you think its getting to hot too quickly take it from the heat for a minute or two and continue to stir. Don't allow the mixture to boil or the custard will curdle. 

Once the custard coats the back of the spoon remove it from the heat and set aside. 

Heat the gelatine and water in the microwave in short bursts until it is melted. Stir it into the custard. 

Melt the chocolate. I usually do this in a Pyrex bowl in the microwave: put it on for 30 seconds, then stir and repeat once. Now stir until the last of the chocolate lumps have melted. Don't overheat or the chocolate will be ruined and don't have the chocolate too hot or it will spoil the custard.

Stir the melted chocolate and the Tia Maria into the custard and set aside to cool. 
The mixture needs to cool until it is at room temperature. 

Beat the eggs whites until soft peaks form and transfer them to another bowl. 

The whites must be beaten in a spotlessly clean bowl or they will not reach their full volume. That's why I beat then first: otherwise I would need to thoroughly clean the bowl after beating the cream.

Now beat the cream to soft peaks and fold in the chocolate mixture.

Now fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture a third at a time. They need to be thoroughly mixed without losing too much of the air the egg whites bring to the mixture.  

Pour the mousse into a serving bowl, cover with food wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving. 

I put ours into one big bowl, but it looks equally good in individual serving dishes. 

Though it's quite an involved recipe, it is definitely worth the effort. Happy cooking Emily. I'm sure your flat mates will love you for making this one.

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