Sadly, the first five weeks of the semester are over, and we have moved on from the Introduction to Baking class to Intermediate Baking. Judging by the syllabus, all this really means is that we have five weeks with a different instructor, elaborating on what we've already learned, and tossing in some "fancy" things like mousses, creme brulees and cheesecakes. I miss Chef Debbie already!
Chef Amanda tossed us right into the action on day one with some chocolate mousse!
I am in no way a pro already at making chocolate mousse, but it was way easier than I expected! Easy in a..."I think I could perfect this and make delicious tasting chocolate mousse someday".
The word mousse comes from a French word that translates literally as "frothy, foamy, or light". To make mousse, it's pretty necessary that you have a mixer. Something fluffy, like whipped cream or meringue, is folded into a base such as a fruit puree, vanilla sauce, cream or pudding, just to name a few options. The base will need to be light and smooth so that the aerator can be incorporated easily. Proper folding is needed to add the foamy mixture (in our case whipped cream) to the base, to ensure that the foam loses as little volume as possible.
The recipe for this chocolate mousse was pretty basic, but it's very crucial that you follow each step carefully and read ahead so you are prepared for each step ahead of time. Working quickly in some spots is needed as well. Seriously, try this at home....you don't be disappointed!
makes 8 half cup servings
- 3 cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
- 1 bag chocolate chips (12 ounces), melted over a double boiler and kept hot
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Whip cream to soft peaks and reserve in fridge. (Whip with a mixer if you've got it- you don't want to know about the alternative method!)
- Okay, remember that time I blogged about mousse and said it was basic and "easy"?? I lied. And I hate liars. What I meant is that, if you follow all the directions, and practice, this COULD be super easy.
- Just for the record, while working with a partner, she overworked the peaks a tad. TheKitchn has an awesome visual guide for what you want your whipped cream to look like.
- So basically, like this site says, when you turn your whisk upside down, the peaks are just starting to hold. They're soft and melt back into themselves after a second, if you're looking for soft peaks. Which we are for this recipe.
- You can use a double boiler here. In our case, we simmered water in a pot, then placed the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl and placed it on the pot. Never put chocolate into a saucepan and then set it on the stove. (Let's just say, there is a lot of learning by mistakes in this class, and the more mistakes we all make, the better bakers we are becoming!)
- This is going down in a separate double boiler, or you can do exactly what was done above.
- Absolutely, positively, DO NOT mix your sugar and egg yolks until you are ready to place them on the double boiler! Measure out your ingredients separately, then wait for this step to happen. If you do it ahead of time, the mixture won't combine in the same way as if you were to wait and mix them together right before applying heat. (another lesson learned from a mistake!)
- Whisk until just combined.
- Here, we are tempering our chocolate. We don't want to add all the chocolate to the whipped cream, because it will collapse the whipped cream and we won't get that light, fluffy texture.
- To put the mousse into the glasses pictured ahead, we used a pastry bag and pipped it in. Makes it look pretty!
- Take a big block of chocolate, and using a large kitchen knife, scrap the chocolate to get shavings. Tilt the top of the knife towards you, press down on the chocolate, and pull the knife towards you. Make sure the block is secured on the table, and up against a towel on your hip.
This is the part where you WOW your guests with the chocolate mousse you just made! Tell them it took you hours and hours! They'll never know! ;-)
Tomorrow we're on to creme brulees. Chances are, I will learn how to do this, and not spend much more time in my life perfecting it. But you never know!
Have fun in the kitchen!