Things have been pretty savoury around here, lately. Weird, for a blog called The Chocolate Bunny, don’t you think? Well, it’s true that the recent Asparagus Series didn’t leave much room for sweetness: I can’t think of a dessert that would include asparagus! Then again, I was sceptical about zucchini and chocolate cake in the beginning, then discovered it was marvellous… Still, I think I’ll leave the testing of asparagus with butterscotch to someone braver than me.
Instead, let’s focus on a classic: chocolate mousse.
Last week, Laurent and I had planned to go see Julie & Julia. We knew it was going to be a visually mouth-watering movie, with myriad shots of delicious, decadent food, so we decided to have dinner before seeing it (another wise choice would have been to go out to a nice French restaurant afterwards, but the timing was off).
Unfortunately, I didn’t really have time to make an elaborate meal, since we would have to rush. No boeuf bourguignon, that was for sure. But I still wanted to make something good, or at least something satisfying. After all, who wants to see a gourmet movie on a stomach full of junk food?
I’ll post about the main course some other time, and concentrate on dessert today, as promised. Because that’s really where all my energy went. Not that it took very long to make. Chocolate mousse is so quick to make, and rather difficult to mess up entirely: even if the texture doesn’t come out exactly as planned, it’ll still taste heavenly.
There are as many chocolate mousse recipes as there are cooks. The one I usually make is as basic as they come: just eggs, chocolate, a couple of spoonfuls of sugar, and a little bit of butter (which I sometimes omit entirely). I’ve also made it with cream, for a heavier texture. I’m sure Julia Child’s version includes boatfuls of butter, and I’m sure it tastes divine – but, would you believe it, I don’t own her books. In fact, until quite recently I only had a vague idea of how important Julia Child was to the world of cooking. I simply grew up in a different food culture…
But back to the mousse. Since the preparation itself was simple, I spruced it up by hiding layers of fresh raspberries inside the mousse (which you can sort-of-kind-of make out in the picture). Chocolate and raspberry: my favourite duo. Together, they can make the worst day brighter.
As you can see, this isn’t a very dense mousse, it’s more of a frothy one. Some day, I’ll try adding gelatin, to make it set better. But in the end, I got exactly what I wanted, without much effort: an intensely chocolaty dessert that was both rich and light. It certainly put us in the right mood for Julie & Julia.
As for the movie itself, we both loved it. The parts revolving around Julia’s life were so uplifting! And as for the part concerning Julie Powell, I enjoyed it as well, but I had to wonder: would anyone not involved in the food blogosphere really relate to it? I mean, I haven’t had this blog for all that long, and I’m not sure even I would have related to that aspect of the movie before I started The Chocolate Bunny. Much of the pleasure I found in watching Julie Powell’s story lied in the depiction of the neuroses that come with having a food blog (and I’m sure all of you related to those very same scenes). I wouldn’t have appreciated those moments before, and I’m wondering if anyone else would.
But, no matter. We loved the film, and I had dreams of butter and chocolate for several nights afterwards. Thank God for chocolate mousse.
Quickie Frothy Dark Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries
Slightly modified from Mario Cattoor’s Cuisiner à la flamande
50g (2 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
2 eggs, separated
25g (1 oz, 1/8 cup) sugar
1 tbsp butter
Fresh whole raspberries
Mint leaves, for decorating
Melt the chocolate with the butter in a double boiler over low-medium heat. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture.
Beat the egg whites until very stiff (you should be able to hold your bowl upside-down without having them fall out). Using a flexible rubber spatula, gently incorporate them into the chocolate mixture, being careful not to crush them.
Take the individual recipients in which you want to serve your mousse, and place a couple of raspberries on the bottom (depending on size of your recipient). Cover with a layer of mousse, then gently place a few more raspberries over that. Repeat the process until your recipients are full and/or all the mousse has been used.
Cover and refrigerate the portions for at least 2 hours. Before serving, top with a sprig of mint and a raspberry. Serve chilled.