For me Claudia’s Chocolate Mousse is the mousse by which all others are judged. It is however, not a health food. Jan has started to make it on anyone’s birthday. Jan spent years perfecting the techniques of making the mousse, but she got bored with making just “chocolate” mousse. She now makes a different variation every time she make it. For example, she has made a cherry liqueur variation, a Baileys Irish Cream variation, and a low sugar variation.
For my birthday this year, wife Jan has made an almond variation with an amaretto float. She asked me to make some Tuile—a French curved almond cookie–to go with the mousse. I am in charge of the rest of the meal and I made barbecued lamb, parsley potatoes, and roasted Harcourt Verts.
Note: Jan has come to realize that it is the temperature of the chocolate mixture that is key to getting the ingredients not to separate into two layers. If you do not let the chocolate cool completely before folding it into the egg whites and whip cream, the denser chocolate mixture \ partially separates. 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 Almond Chocolate Mousse
2 pkg. unflavored gelatin
⅔ cup white sugar, separate uses
¼ tsp. salt
4 eggs, separated
2 cup milk
12 oz. Dark Chocolate
1 tsp. almond extract
1 pint whipping cream
(optional) Amaretto float to taste
(optional) Karl’s Tuile
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 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 and stir in the almond extract.
5. Chill 30 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.
Tip: If the sauce is even a little warm it will separate into two layers as it chills.
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 ½ cup sugar into the egg whites and then fold them into the chocolate mix.
Note: 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.
8. Whip the cream and fold it into the mix.
9. At this point you may spoon the mouse into individual serving cups or into a decorative serving bowl.
Tip: Do not disturb the mousse once it has started to set.
Note: We use a clear glass, floral, salad bowl.
10. Chill until firm.
11. (Optional) Pour some amaretto over the mousse as a float.
12. (Optional) Add a Tuile as garnish.