A safer alternative to older, traditional chocolate mousse recipes, this variation does not use raw eggs. From start to finish, the mousse takes about half an hour to make and needs only about an hour to set in the fridge. Use a good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bar to make this mousse (chocolate chips won’t work). Crunchy cookies, such as almond tuiles, will provide contrast to the smoothness of the mousse, and the acidity in the berries will balance its sweetness.
Makes about 3 cups
Mixed berry salad
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet
chocolate (65% to 70% cocoa), chopped
¼ cup water or strong coffee
½ cup heavy whipping cream, cold
stainless steel mixing bowls
pot with handle
pastry bag with piping tips
parchment paper or Silpat
scraper or palette knife
If serving mousse immediately, insert a cookie into each bowl of mousse so it stands upright (the cookies are very delicate and will get soggy if they are in the mousse too long). Alternately, cookies can be placed on a decorative serving plate.
To change the flavor of the mousse, replace the water or coffee with juice or fruit puree; or, replace half the water with your favorite liqueur.
1. Place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat. By hand or with an electric mixer, whip the egg-sugar mixture until cool and thick.
2. Place the chopped chocolate and the water (or coffee) in a stainless steel bowl. Set the bowl over the pot of simmering water, and stir as necessary until melted. The mixture will be smooth and have a pudding-like consistency. Remove from the heat to cool slightly. If the chocolate gets too cold or fudgy, re-warm it over the hot water.
3. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg-sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture. TIP: If the chocolate is significantly hotter or colder than the whipped eggs and sugar, it will be difficult to combine the two.
4. Whip the heavy cream in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Then gently fold the cream into the chocolate mixture. Chill until set, about one hour. (Mousse can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to two days.)
5. Place a spoonful of mixed berry salad in a small bowl or cup. Outfit a pastry bag with a decorative piping tip (such as Ateco 865). Alternately, you can use a one-gallon plastic storage bag, cutting a half-inch piece off one of the bottom corners. (Or, you can simply portion the mousse into dessert cups with a large spoon.)
6. Fill the pastry or storage bag halfway with the chocolate mousse. Pipe the mousse into the cup with the fruit.
Makes about 1½ dozen cookies
½ cup (about 2 ounces) sliced raw almonds,
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons melted unsalted butterThe batter for these thin, crisp and curved French cookies keeps in the refrigerator for about a week. The cookies are best eaten the day they are baked, but can be kept in an airtight container for a day or two.
Toss the almonds and sugar together in a bowl.
Beat the egg and stir into almond/sugar mixture.
Add vanilla extract.
Stir in flour gradually.
Stir in butter.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.**
Place batter by teaspoonfuls on baking sheet.
Spread the batter with the back of a teaspoon (dipped in water) to make circles that are about 2½ inches in diameter.
Bake at 375 degrees until brown around the edges, about 8 minutes.
Remove tuiles from parchment paper with a spatula and drape on a rolling pin for about a minute, or until cooled.
Three cookies will fit on a standard-size rolling pin at once.
If cookies harden before shaping, return to oven to soften for about 1 minute.
Tuiles can also be cooled on a rack and left flat.
**Or try a Silpat, a non-stick baking pan liner that lays flatter than parchment paper and can be reused. Silpat mats, made from fiberglass and silicone, are available at kitchenware shops and some department stores.
Mixed Berry Salad
Makes about 4 cups
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
Zest of one orange
Zest of one lemon
4 cups mixed berries,
larger berries cut if necessary
Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the orange and lemon zest. Cover, remove from heat and let steep for about 30 minutes. Strain the syrup to remove the zest. Place the berries in a bowl and add enough syrup to moisten the fruit. If you have extra syrup, save it in the fridge and use it to sweeten drinks such as cocktails or iced or hot tea. The syrup keeps for about 2 weeks.