For me Claudia’s Chocolate Mousse is the mousse by which all others are judged. It is however, not a health food. Jan usually makes it only once a year on my birthday. Jan spent years perfecting the techniques of making mousse, but she has not dared to tinker with mom’s recipe. For this year’s birthday dinner, she made some variations to make it her own. I may just have a new favorite.
Note: How much you fold the mix is a delicate operation. If you stir or fold the mix too much you will knock the air out of the egg whites and the whipped cream. You will be left with a dense unappealing mass. If you do not fold the mix enough the denser chocolate mixture will partially separate from the whip cream. Instead of a uniform creamy mousse, you will end up with a slightly dense pudding layer and a fluffy creamy layer. This separation is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are serving the mousse in individual bowls, you get two chocolaty experiences for the price of one, but it is not the true mousse.
Jan’s Chocolate Mousse
1 pint whipping cream
1. Mix the gelatin, ½ cup sugar and the salt thoroughly in the top of a double boiler (if you do not have a D.B. a metal mixing bowl over a pot of water works fine).
2. Beat together the egg yolks and milk and add them to the top on the gelatin mixture.
3. Add the chocolate bits and cook over boiling water, stirring constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and well blended.
4. Remove the chocolate from the heat, stir in the Grande Marnier and vanilla. Chill until the sauce is thickened.
5. In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.
Tip: Be sure not to get any egg yolk or water in your egg whites or they will not form the meringue properly.
6. Beat ½ cup sugar into the egg whites and then fold them into the chocolate mix. Folding is not the same as stirring. To fold you take a spatula and gently scoop the mix from the bottom, bring it up and lay it in the top. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until the mix is well blended.
7. Whip the cream and fold it into the mix.
8. At this point you may spoon the mousse into individual serving cups or into a display serving bowl (we use a clear glass, floral, salad bowl). Do not disturb the mousse once it has started to set.
9. Chill until firm.