Wednesday, April 10, 2013

In the Kitchen: Simplest Chocolate Mousse

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
chocolate mousse
Chocolate Mousse

Only takes five minutes too, can you believe it? But let me digress a little - lately, someone tricked me into believing that chocolate's my favourite. I don't even know how it happened. Someone simply passed me a huge slice of chocolate cake, saying, "Here! Have a bigger slice! Chocolate's your favourite." And it wasn't even true. But it stuck.

Some time later, my good friend, K, threw a barbecue (now that's my favourite), and assured us that he's got everything taken care of. Naturally, all that's left to bring to the party (apart from alcohol) was marshmallows. But how can I give it a bit of a twist? I was racking my brains out when chocolate popped into my head, along with some images of chocolate coated marshmallows. Not bad, I told my subconscious, except we're working with roasted marshmallows here. And then another image popped up - this time of luscious chocolate mousse topped with warm, roasted marshmallows - I got to work.

caramelized banana chocolate mousse
Chocolate mousse topped with bananas, brown sugar and torched

You see, I'd come across a recipe not too long ago that I just couldn't believe - it insisted that you and I, anyone, can conjure the best chocolate mousse in the world using just two ingredients - chocolate, and... wait for it, water. Yes, water. I wouldn't have believed it, really, except the man who said it was Heston Blumenthal, none other than the genius behind UK's most acclaimed restaurant, The Fat Duck. Watch him work the mousse magic here. Honestly, I am amazed at how well it turned out, how pure it tasted, how good I felt about myself even as I scooped into my mouth ridiculous spoonfuls, knowing that it's just chocolate and no, there is not even a single drop of cream. This recipe is a god sent.

The best part is, you can do just about anything with it. Play with the flavour of the mousse itself by infusing the water with a tea like earl grey, for instance, or simply whip in cinnamon powder. And then the sky's the limit when it comes to serving your guests - bring it to a barbecue as a base for roasted marshmallows, or top it with slices of banana, sprinkle with brown sugar and torch (as pictured). You could top it with rice puffs too, or why not just use the best chocolate you can lay your hands on and serve it plain with aplomb? It's your call.

Chocolate Mousse (Chocolate Chantilly)
Serves four - Adapted from recipe by Herve This & Heston Blumenthal, via Cafe Fernando

350 grams chocolate (70% cocoa), roughly chopped (use the best you can lay your hands on, like Valrhona Guanaja)
270 ml water
Sugar to taste

Place a mixing bowl on top of another filled with ice and water. Set aside.

Melt chocolate and water in a medium-sized pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Pour the melted chocolate into the mixing bowl sitting on top of the ice bath, and whisk vigorously until texture thickens to that of whipped cream. Divide into four serving cups and serve immediately or refrigerate.

If you find the mousse turning grainy (due to over-whipping), simply transfer it back into the pan and start over.

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