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Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's Chocolate Mousse Day!!!

Gooey desserts were a specialty of the sixties. I know, I was there:) That's about the same time mousses hit the scene. A hostess was sure to make an impression on her guests if she offered a mousse, whether it be savory, sweet or jellied, in her dining repertoire. If a guest politely requested the recipe, all the better.

By definition, mousse is a French word which literally translates to "foam" or "froth." In French, mousse means moss and is called such because of its spongy consistency. In culinary language, mousse is a rich, airy, spongy preparation which can be either savory, or sweet, hot or cold. In its most basic form, a mousse only requires three key ingredients; the base, the binder and the aerator to elevate it to its whipped texture. Eggs combined with cream is a popular combination of ingredients in mousse recipes, whether you are preparing a salmon mousse recipe or a sweet one, and gelatin is often used to bind the mousse, although eggs can do that job without the addition of gelatin. Beaten egg whites give hot mousses their lightness. Fish such as salmon is frequently used in savory mousse recipes, but meat cheese, or even vegetables can be used. These are often cooked in a bain-marie or water bath, to discourage the mousse from cracking or curdling. Savory mousse recipes are often served with some kind of sauce to bring out the mousse flavor. Similar to pâtés or terrines, mousse is usually served on a platter or in individual portions to make an attractive display. Sweet mousse can range from thick and creamy to light and fluffy depending on how it is prepared. They are perfect for either a formal or informal presentation. And, since they usually need to sit for a couple of hours or over night, they are a wonderful make ahead recipe.

Mousse may not be the dish for anyone with concerns about using raw eggs. There are a few options:
1. Use liquid pasteurized egg whites
2. Reconstitute powdered egg whites
3. Use meringue powder
4. Buy (hard-to-find) pasteurized eggs or TEXT make your own. (surprisingly easy:)
5. Prepare a safe meringue where the egg whites are cooked to 160 degrees before being beaten until stiff and cool. Here's the recipe courtesy of Ochef

The New Safe Meringue 
From Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts, by Alice Medrich.
Safe Meringue can be used place of ordinary meringue in old recipes. These include uncooked desserts such as mousse, Bavarian cream, and ice cream, as well as soft meringues for pie topping and Baked Alaska where a short baking or browning period may not be enough to heat the meringue thoroughly.
Ingredients:
2 Tbsp water 
1/8 tsp cream of tartar 
2 egg whites 
4 Tbsp sugar
Instructions:
Bring 1 inch of water to a gentle simmer in a large skillet. Combine the 2 tsp water with the cream of tartar in a 4- to 6-cup stainless steel bowl. Add the egg whites and sugar and whisk together briskly to combine ingredients thoroughly and break up the egg white clots (which have a tendency to scramble first.) Place an instant-read thermometer near the stove in a mug of very hot tap water.

Set bowl of egg whites in skillet. Stir mixture briskly and constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides and bottom often to avoid scrambling the whites. After 1 minute, remove bowl from skillet. Quickly insert thermometer, tilting bowl to cover stem by at least 2 inches. If less than 160°F (70°C), rinse thermometer in skillet water and return it to mug. Replace bowl in skillet. Stir as before until temperature reaches 160°F when bowl is removed. Beat on high speed until cool and stiff.

Note:There are actually lots of recipes for mousse out there that use both raw whites and raw yolks. Traditionally —a hundred-plus years ago — the yolks were ribboned with a hot sugar syrup because the sugar was too coarse to use without melting it. The use of the syrup has staged a come-back in recent years as it can bring the yolks to a temperature where potentially harmful bacteria are destroyed.

Elizabeth David's chocolate mousse is one of my personal favorites where as others may prefer Julia's Child's which to me seems to be a bit more ingredient heavy. I've left a link to her recipe and others below.

Since April is National Pecan Month and today is Chocolate Mousse Day, I offer this recipe from The Taste of Home Cooking School 50th Anniversary Cookbook for your enjoyment.

Chocolate Mousse & Praline Pie
This tempting dessert stars a sugary pecan layer topped with a rich and airy chocolate mousse. It's all nestled in a homemade chocolate crumb crust.
Crust:
1-1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
6 tbs. baking cocoa
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
6 tbs. butter, melted
Praline Layer:
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbs. granulated
1 tbs. cornstarch
2 tbs. water
2/3 cup chopped pecans
Chocolate Mousse:
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 tbs. cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipping cream
Pecan halves
For Crust:
Combine crumbs, cocoa and confectioners' sugar, stir in butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, cool on wire rack.
For Praline Layer:
Melt butter, remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Blend granulated sugar and cornstarch; add with water to brown sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in pecans. Pour into crust; refrigerate (do not cover).
For Mousse:
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand 1 minute to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear. In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, whipping cream and vanilla. Beat until stiff; add gelatin mixture and beat just until blended. Carefully spread over praline layer. Chill several hours. Garnish with whipping cream and pecan halves. 6-8 servings

I just couldn't serve up Chocolate Mousse Day without at least one picture for you to drool over. Here it is, Chocolate & Creamy Orange Mousse from Hershey.

Chocolate & Creamy Orange Mousse
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk), divided
2 tbs. orange juice plus 2 tsp. freshly grated orange peel OR 2 tbs. orange flavored liqueur, divided
2 cups cold whipping cream
Directions:
1. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat, add cocoa, then 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, stirring until smooth and slightly thickened. Pour mixture into medium bowl; cool to room temperature. Beat in 1 tbs. orange juice and 1 tsp. orange peel.
2. Beat whipping cream in large bowl until stiff. Fold half of whipped cream into chocolate mixture. In second medium bowl, stir together remaining sweetened condensed milk, remaining 1 tbs. orange juice and 1 tsp. orange peel. Fold in remaining whipped cream.
3. Spoon equal portions of chocolate mousse mixture into 8 dessert dishes, making a depression in center of each. Spoon creamy orange mixture into center of each. Refrigerate until well chilled. Garnish as desired. Cover; refrigerate leftover dessert.

Tomorrow (April 4th) is Chocolate Milk Powder Day. Here's a "taste" from a previous post I did way back in 2008.

Van Houten Process

I would also like to share a recipe for "Cold Cocoa" from Van Houten The recipe reads, "In summer always keep a bottle of chocolate syrup handy in the icebox. Stir 1-1/2 tablespoonfuls (or more according to taste) into a glass of cold milk. This makes a delightfully refreshing and nourishing drink. Kids love it and so do many grown-ups."

Ice Box Chocolate Syrup
2 cups Van Houten Cocoa
1 qt. water
5 cups sugar
1/4 level tsp. salt, vanilla to flavor
Mix cocoa and sugar together dry. Put salt in water and bring to boiling point. (the use of a double boiler is recommended.) Gradually work in the cocoa-sugar mixture. Bring back to boiling point (stirring constantly to avoid scorching) and boil 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Strain, put in covered container and cool rapidly. Add vanilla when cool.
For glass of rich chocolate milk, mix 1 part of chocolate syrup to 10 parts of fresh milk. Excellent for children, for an afternoon snack...convenient, economical, and safe. Excellent as a sauce for ice cream, for chocolate sundaes, for topping mousses, gelatin desserts etc.
War Time Suggestion: For chocolate syrups, sugar may be replaced by half sugar and half corn syrup.

One more thing before I go. April 6th is the birthday of another classic, The Twinkie!!! Happy Birthday Twinkies!

Resources
1. Eggs & Food Safety
2. Julia Child’s Perfect Chocolate Mousse Recipe
3. Gordon Ramsay's Four-minute Chocolate Mousse
4. Daniel Boulud's Chocolate Mousse

27 Nibbles:

Gloria said...

My dear Louise I really love chocolate mousse, and kids too of course!! I have to make soon this recipe! have a lovely Sunday, gloria

yummychunklet said...

Great post! Can't wait to try out some mousse recipes!

Channon said...

I'm not much on gelatin-based foods, but for some reason, I like a chocolate mousse once in a while.

Mary said...

All three of these recipes are wonderful. That pie caught my eye, however. I'm going to have to try it. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Janet Rudolph said...

Can't wait to make the pie! I linked to this post on my Avocado Chocolate Mousee recipe for today's Food holiday! Thanks for all the tips, especially about the eggs.

Reeni said...

The pie sounds delectable Louise! And happy birthday to twinkies! I wonder how long they've been around?!

grace said...

mmm. magical, magical mousse. as a kid, i was way confused about moose, mousse you eat, and mousse hair products. i can understand why they say english is the most difficult language to learn. :)

My Little Space said...

Thanks again for the info and also all the recipes, louise! So very nice of you. Hope you're having a fabulous day.
Blessings, Kristy

Rita said...

You are so so right mousse was king or was it queen in the 60s; it wasn't always easy to succeed; yoouu needed all the stars point the right way. Love how you explained it and brought back memories; loved it. Yours looks like perfection.
Rita

The Blonde Duck said...

I haven't figured out how to make PB chiffon pie yet!

Nadine said...

I love chocolate mousse. I can't wait to try yours!

lisa is cooking said...

Chocolate mousse is a classic for good reason! The pie with pecan pralines sounds amazing.

5 Star Foodie said...

Chocolate mousse is a favorite decadent treat for sure!

sippitysup said...

Of course chocolate mousse would have a "day" why didn't I know that before? GREG

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Orangeand chocolate in mousse? This has my name written all over it!

The Blonde Duck said...

Happy Wednesday!

Barbara said...

I've never made it in pie form, Louise, but have a 60's recipe from a good friend in loaf form, with ladyfingers all around. Brings back some great memories.

Pam said...

Chocolate mousse is always a big hit in my home... yum!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I LOVE chocolate mousse! That pie sounds to die for. One of my favorite desserts (especially my granny's mousse).

Cheers,

Rosa

Johanna GGG said...

happy chocolate mousse day - I love all your moussey knowledge - I don't like eggs and cream much so mousse isn't my thing but I remember when chocolate mousse cake was all the rage and I was really into it - maybe because it was baked (I think). I do however love condensed milk and love that recipe from hersheys - might even try it if the right occasion presents itself

Jana said...

The war-time suggestion is relevant to my needs. Every unnecessary spoonful of sugar you use goes straight into Hitler's victory coffee.

girlichef said...

Okay...it's been FAR too long since I've had chocolate mousse...and I want to run into the kitchen and make some right now. Probably won't....but I want to ;)

Sonia said...

The chocolate mousse is looking so adorable with ur perfect presentation style....cheers !

Cynthia said...

Darling Louise, I read you opening line and have been laughing since. I just love your sense of humour.

~~louise~~ said...

Thanks Gloria. I had a wonderful Sunday. Although, I didn't get my fair share of Chocolate Mousse!!!

Have FUN Yummy!

I do believe I could eat a good chocolate mousse everyday of the week, Chan.

Let us know how the pie comes out, Mary. I'm quite curious...

Glad you liked it, Janet. Thanks for the link!!!

Hi Reenie. Glad you liked the pie. After a quick check at my Tasteful Inventions blog, I can verify that Twinkies have been around since April 6, 1930.

~~louise~~ said...

I laughed when I saw this Grace. I suppose it's no wonder why people say the English language is so difficult to learn. I'll take the magical kind any day!

Thanks Kristy and Rita. I'm delighted you enjoyed this post:)

Ducky are you in need of a recipe?

Be my guest, Nadine. Enjoy!

Your Pecan Bars sound pretty darn good too, Lisa. Oh goodness. I just love Pecan Month!!!

Yes it is, 5 Star. An all time favorite of mine for sure!!!

Hi Greg! Thanks for visiting. Sorry I didn't have time to watch that Foodie Bloggers Peel for Japan video. I'll be back though. Stay tuned, there's tons of foodie days this year. Take today for example, it's National Grilled Cheese Day!!! (and Licorice day too:)

~~louise~~ said...

Invite me, Invite me...Pattie!

So glad you enjoyed it Barbara and Pam Yum indeed!

One of my favorite desserts also Rosa. Granny's Mousse recipe? Bring it on. I'd love to see it!!!

Well, you just let us know when the ocassion presents itself, Johanna and we'll be right over!!!

That's okay, Heather. Your Cinnamon Crunch Biscuit Bites will do nicely!

Thanks Sonia. It was such a deliciously fun post!!!

Don't look at me Cynthia. Can't you see, I'm blushing...