For me, Claudia’s Chocolate Mousse is the mousse by which all others are judged. It is however, not a health food. It has replaced cakes as the birthday treat in our house. Jan has spent years perfecting the techniques of making mousse, but it took her years before she dared to tinker with mom’s recipe. This weekend is Chris’ birthday dinner, so Jan decided she would create a variation just for him.
We have recently discovered Straus milk products. They are not homogenized and they are pasteurized in the old fashioned way. This long and slow process does not change the flavor of the milk, like the quick industrial processes used on most of the milk products you find in the store. Jan noticed that the higher fat content of Straus milk made this dish come together much more easily than when she used lower quality ingredients. The difference in flavor was also significantly better with Straus milk.
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 on top. 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, the Chris Variation
2 pkg. unflavored gelatin
1 cup cane sugar, separate uses
¼ tsp. salt
4 eggs, separated
2 cup Straus whole milk
12 oz. good quality dark chocolate bits
1 Tbs. Baileys Irish Cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pint Straus whipping cream
1. Mix the gelatin, ½ cup sugar and the salt thoroughly in the top of a double boiler.
Tip: 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 gelatin mixture.
3. Add the chocolate bits and cook over the boiling water, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted and well blended.
4. Remove the chocolate from the heat, stir in the Baileys Irish Cream and vanilla.
5. Chill, in the refrigerator, until the sauce is thickened.
6. 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.
7. Beat the remaining half cup of sugar into the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.
8. Fold the meringue into the chocolate mix.
Tip: 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.
9. Whip the cream in a separate bowl and fold it into the mix.
Tip: You may wash and dry the meringue bowl to limit the number of bowls you use.
Note: You may reserve some of the whipped cream to put on top of the mousse as a garnish.
10. At this point you may spoon the mousse into individual serving cups or into a decorative serving bowl.
Note: We use a clear glass, floral, salad bowl.
11. Set the mousse, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.
Tip: Do not disturb the mousse once it has started to set.
12. Chill until firm.
13. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Tip: If you wish you may garnish the mousse with a dollop of whipped cream and a few shavings of dark chocolate, but this is really gilding the lily.