It’s been a long time since my last post – my apologies to all of you who have been wondering what had happened to me!! To answer that in detail would take a long time (and might not be all that interesting), so I’ll keep it brief! 🙂 What I had thought of as a short summer break turned into a more prolonged vacation! The summer in Saint-Chinian was busy, filled with visitors, endless days of hot and sunny weather, and lots of work in helping to organise the music festival in July. As soon as the July festival was over, work started on another series of concerts in September. The good weather continued until fairly recently, and with it the flow of visitors.
Some of you will have read reports of the devastating floods which hit our area in Languedoc recently. Saint-Chinian did get a huge amount of rain, but our river did not do any serious damage to the village. Some of the gardens along the river were completely flattened, and the nursery downstream outside the village suffered some damage and loss to their plant stock, but that was pretty much it.
My heart went out to the people around Carcassonne who lost so much to this devastating flood, and I counted myself to have been very lucky.
Now that things have settled down, I am writing once more. I thought I would start off with a food post. I recently taught a couple of friends how to make chocolate mousse and i would like to share that with you.
Making chocolate mousse is not difficult and it requires very few ingredients: good chocolate, eggs, cream and water. Depending on your taste, the chocolate can be dark, milk or white. It needs to be of a good quality as the final result depends very much on the chocolate. It goes without saying that the eggs should be very fresh. (You’ll find a printable recipe at the end of this post.)
For my tutorial, I decided to use two different kinds of chocolate, white and dark. The dark chocolate was 72% cocoa; white chocolate contains no cocoa solids at all. This way, both of my friends could have some hands-on experience! 🙂
The chocolate pieces were melted in separate bowls set in bowls filled with hot water. Melting chocolate takes very little effort – just give it a stir from time to time and wait until it is all melted. The main thing is to not over-heat the chocolate, which can happen when it is melted in the microwave. When melting the chocolate, be careful not to splash water into the melted chocolate, as this would cause the chocolate to “seize up” and become granular.
While the chocolate was melting, we separated the egg yolks from the whites. Once the chocolate had melted, the egg yolks were stirred into the chocolate. This was easier with white the chocolate than with the dark. Don’t worry if the chocolate goes granular or gritty to begin with, just keep stirring/beating until it becomes a shiny mass or lump.
The water was added next. In this recipe, the water is used to make the chocolate and egg yolk mixture a little less stiff, so that the whipped egg whites don’t deflate as you try to fold them in. For the white chocolate only a very little water was required – about half a tablespoon was enough for 135g of white chocolate. For the dark chocolate we added about 5 tablespoons to 135g of chocolate. Every chocolate reacts differently, so you’ll need to use your own discretion with the water. The finished mixture should have the consistency of softened butter.
We first whipped the egg whites, taking care not to over-beat them, until they formed soft peaks when the (stationary) whisks were pulled out. I added a tiny pinch of salt to the egg whites, which improved the flavour of the finished mousse. Next, we whipped the cream to soft peaks – it remained somewhat “floppy”.
The whipped egg whites were divided between the two bowls, and folded in gently. The reason that we added the egg whites first was that they would not have deflated if the chocolate mixture had still been a little warm. The whipped cream would have gone runny had it been added to a warm mixture.
We added the whipped cream before the egg whites were completely blended in. Further careful folding helped to keep the mixture as light as possible!
The white chocolate mousse turned out to be more runny than the dark, most likely due to the lack of cocoa solids in the white chocolate. We filled eight bowls and ramekins with some of each colour mousse.
The filled bowls looked very pretty!! Before they went into the fridge, each bowl was covered with cling film/plastic wrap.
Chocolate mousse needs a minimum of four hours in the fridge, so it is best made the day before you want to eat it, or in the morning if you want to serve it for dinner.
We ate it the following evening – it was delicious!!
A light and airy chocolate mousse, the perfect ending to a meal.
- 270g chocolate
- 4 eggs
- 200ml whipping cream
- 100ml water
- Chop the chocolate or break it into small pieces. Separate the egg yolks from the whites
- Melt the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl over hot water.
- Beat the egg yolks into the melted chocolate until the mixture is glossy and clears the sides of the bowl.
- Add water one tablespoon at a time, mixing it in until the chocolate mixture has the consistency of soft butter. You may not need to add the full amount of water.
- Whip the egg whites with a tiny pinch of salt until soft peaks form.
- Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
- With a spatula or spoon, fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture, followed by the whipped cream.
- Divide the mixture between your individual serving bowls, or use one large serving bowl. Cover with film and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours before serving.