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Anyone can make chocolate mousse
First installment of an online series of columns about wine and food
Published 5/29/2013 6:00:00 AM
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Imagine: you’re the very first person to get into Martin Stadium for the Apple Cup. As the stands start to fill, a group of Huskies decide to sit down as you protest that you were ‘saving the seat for your friends’. It’s time to migrate to your fellow Cougars.

This is a perfect analogy, courtesy of introduction to biochemistry, for the hydrophobic nature and delicate emulsion in chocolate: a suspension of water, fats, proteins and sugars.

Essentially, the emulsion in chocolate breaks and the cocoa solids migrate to each other, seizing the mixture into a grainy nasty mess-– remember the Martin Stadium analogy? All the solids (Cougs) want to separate from all the water (Huskies).

I like to think of myself as having a pretty optimistic view of the world so let’s imagine that for some reason, the Cougar cocoa solids and Husky water decide to make nice and play along.

Chocolate mousse is often a combination of melted chocolate folded into whipped cream and enriched with eggs. Dr. Hervé, a food chemist, decided the water-chocolate rule was nonsense and developed a recipe for chocolate mousse with two ingredients: chocolate and water.

It turns out, adding chocolate to water creates a stable emulsion, with the aid of furious whisking and the addition of air. See, we can get along.

Due to the simplicity, this recipe is really more of a technique than anything else. One could use this for a composed dessert, fill it into cakes, use it as frosting or eat it on its own.

The biggest factor in making this the best mousse is the quality of your chocolate. Remember, it’s only chocolate and water, so buy the best chocolate you can afford. I suggest using something with at least 50 percent cocoa solids.

The bulk section from Winco in Moscow carries decent chocolate, but any nice chocolate bar like Green & Black’s works well, too.

Although, I do have a warning: anything above 75 percent cocoa can be a little too intense in flavor, unless you’re one of those people that claim ‘the darker the better’. Right…

Idiot’s Chocolate Mousse

5.3 oz or 1 cup best chocolate you can buy (50 to 75 percent cocoa solids)

3.8 oz or ½ cup water (or any other liquid of choice)

Combine the chocolate and water in a small pot or saucepan over medium heat. Mix until it’s melted and smooth.

While the chocolate is melting, get a big bowl and fill it with ice and water and put a smaller bowl on top to create a double boiler ice bath.

Pour melted chocolate into your mixing bowl over the ice bath. Lick spatula.

Now whisk with a vengeance. After a minute of whisking, it should start to look like heavy cream. The time may depend on the whisk you’re using. You know it’s done when it has the same consistency of whipped cream.

If you keep whisking past this point, the emulsion will break and everything becomes grainy again. No worries, re-melt everything and repeat the process.

Deploy at will and impress someone.

Tips:

*If serving on its own, sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on top; chocolate and salt are best friends, trust me on this.

*Whipped cream on the side is nice especially if you’re using a high cocoa content chocolate.

*Goes particularly well with angel food cake.

*The mousse keeps in the fridge also for about a week or so.

*Works with vegan chocolate also.


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