Sunday, February 14, 2010

Number 42: Bittersweet chocolate mousse with raspberry puree

Let's start this one with the score. Mousse: 75, Jess: 25.

Here's the story. Boyfriend and I celebrated V-day early because we have nonexistent lives (read: work, homework and reading) today. His job: Paella. Mine: Something chocolate-y with fruit.

Naturally, I went for the classic chocolate mousse, adding on a raspberry puree. And this being our first V-day celebration, I wanted to be fancy.

Originally I was planning on chocolate, pear and honey, but eh. I wanted something reddish. Sure, raspberries aren't in season, but chocolate-covered strawberries are the rage for romance and they're only in season during the summer.

I was choosing between Martha Stewart's bittersweet chocolate mousse recipe and tartelette's chocolate, honey and pear and milk chocolate mousse, and since I wanted to be fancy, I decided to go with the latter, halving the recipe and making it all chocolate. Boyfriend loves honey, so I was attracted to this recipe which didn't use any sugar.

But this recipe called for gelatin. I hate gelatin. It scares me. You just add it and everything becomes sticky or stiff and stays that way. Most of the time, the gelatin doesn't dissolve like it should. Or it clumps together in whipped cream. Obviously, I'm still a novice at using gelatin.

So this time the gelatin didn't dissolve in the microwave like it should've. So I made two batches of gelatin and the resulting mixture was super stiff. Made for a difficult mousse. Not necessarily homogeneous (yuck).

Nevertheless, I charged forward. In went the chocolate. Except I spent such a long time on the syrup that the melted chocolate had begun to solidify. I ended up with bits of chocolate in the mousse, which didn't look appetizing (but it was!) So I melted more chocolate, added it in, dropped the mousse into ramekins and smoothed it over with the back of a spoon.

The raspberry puree was nice and smooth, although the color was bright pink and looked quite ridiculous next to the medium brown of the mousse. I was hoping for a deeper brown, but ah well. Such is life. Take what you can, right?

It turned out fairly decent - Boyfriend wasn't much of a fan because it was quite bitter (bittersweet chocolate...of course) and he's more of a milk chocolate person. Maybe I should have stuck with the pear and chocolate mousse, but for my first attempt I suppose it was worth it. So why is it mousse: 0.75, Jess: 0.25? Well, the mousse almost beat me, and I almost had to throw it away, but in the end it was edible and quite good. Rave reviews from everyone but Boyfriend (who is my best and harshest critic, next to my mom)

Perhaps it's mousse: 75, Jess: 125?

Bittersweet chocolate mousse with raspberry puree
sweetened with honey
mousse adapted from Tartelette
For the mousse
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons plus 1.5 teaspoon water, divided
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup honey
3 egg yolks
3 ounces chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

For the raspberry puree
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water

To make the mousse
1. Dissolve 1tablespoon gelatin into 1 tablespoon water
2. Beat cream until soft peaks form. Chill
3. Wash your bowl and mixer - dry completely.
4. In a heavy saucepan, stir together 2.5 tblespoons (2 tablespoons plus 1.5 teaspoon) water and the honey. Stir until dissolved. Boil over medium heat until it reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees F)
5. Once it reaches the temperature, pour into a container with a spout (making it easier to pour over egg yolks)
6. Beat egg yolks at medium high speed to break it up. Continue beating while carefully pouring the hot syrup over the yolks
7. Dissolve the gelatin in the microwave (!) for 10 to 15 seconds.
8. Add to the egg yolk mixture (pate a bombe)
9. Whip until cold and airy.
10. Remove whipped cream from the fridge.
11. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the pate a bombe  until the mixture becomes gentler
12. Fold the rest in carefully
13. Fold in melted chocolate
14. Separate into 4 ramekins or serving containers, smooth over with the back of a spoon.

To make the puree
1. Combine all ingredients in a pot
2. Over medium heat, cook ingredients until the raspberries break down
3. Simmer until thick, about 5 minutes
4. Push through a strainer to get all the seeds out
5. Spread over the mousse with the back of a spoon

Once assembled, chill for at least two hours or overnight. The colder, the better.

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