I am somewhat infamous amongst my friends and family for my chocolate obsession (it’s not hard to see why). As a result, my friends often send me chocolate-related recipes by email, Facebook etc. I am always grateful for these messages from them, if nothing else because it means they thought of me. But last week, my friend Zoe posted a link for a chocolate mousse recipe on my Facebook timeline that has entirely changed the way I look at chocolate!
When I first saw the recipe, I thought it seemed too simple to be true. Despite my skepticism, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give it a try sometime in the near future. As it turned out, I woke up today to find I was out of the Cointreau chocolate truffles I recently made, so, desperately needing my chocolate fix, I decided to try the mousse recipe out. The method employed in this recipe was invented by Herve This, who is a French chemist and, well if you ask me, also a French magician! It turns out this truly is a miracle method/recipe! I am not just being hyperbolic; I mean it. Here’s why:
1. The basic recipe has only has two ingredients: chocolate and water.
2. Although this point is essentially redundant given point 1, I just want to emphasize the fact that the recipe does not call for cream, butter or sugar! So it is pretty low-fat and healthy, for a chocolate mousse recipe.
3. The process is fairly simply, all it needs is a bit of whipping.
You’re amazed aren’t you? Well give it a go, I promise it’s easy and the result is delicious! But before I go on, I just want to add a little caveat to all this. I say this recipe is low-fat because it doesn’t call for cream, butter etc. Having said that, it is still a chocolate mousse recipe. Even though it contains only chocolate and water, chocolate, even dark chocolate contains quite a lot of calories. So this mousse is still considerably more fattening than say just eating some fruit for dessert. So eat it in reasonable quantities.
(I know, I know, you’re calling me a hypocrite now, but YOU, my dear reader can, and should, aspire to a healthier, more sane lifestyle than I adopt, surely!)
I used Heston Blumenthal’s recipe as a base but changed the quantities a little, and added Cointreau for a little extra oomph. Here are the instructions for my version:
1 large bowl and 1 smaller bowl
250g good dark chocolate (I used Godiva chocolate with 72% cocoa solids)
220 ml water
2 tbsp Cointreau (you could also use Grand Marnier)
Cocoa powder and finely grated orange peel for decoration
(The exact quantity of water that you will need varies a little with the room temperature in the room and ice bath, and the particular chocolate you use, so you might have to tweak these measurements. Once you try the recipe out, you’ll get a sense of it and you might find you need to add another tablespoon of water, or reduce the water in the recipe by a bit.)
Chop up the chocolate on a cutting board into fine bits with a large knife. I have a food processor, so I just break the chocolate up into individual squares and then throw it into the processor. The reason you want the chocolate broken up into fine bits is because you want it all to melt easily when you heat it. Chocolate burns easily, so you’ve always got to be careful when melting it.
Take the larger bowl and fill it with ice and cold water. Place the smaller bowl in this bigger bowl on top of the ice. The bottom of the smaller bowl should rest on the ice.
Next pour the water into a saucepan, place the pan on the stove and turn on the heat/flame to low. Now add the chocolate and Cointreau. With the whisk begin mixing the chocolate, liqueur, and water. Once the chocolate is melted, pour it into the small bowl sitting in the ice-bath. Start whisking the chocolate fairly furiously. It will slowly thicken.
Watch the video below to get an idea of how much to whisk it and when to stop (the whisking bit is from around 1.15 to 1.45).
It’s important not to overdo the whipping; if you do, you won’t end up with a mousse-like consistency. I made that mistake the first time around 😦 and I ended up with a dry mess that looked like this:
If you overdo it, you can melt the chocolate again and repeat the whipping process.
When you have the right consistency, you should stop whisking immediately and serve the mousse. I used an ice cream scoop to gorge some out and then served it on a plate like this- lightly dusted with cocoa on top:
Another option is to scoop into little serving bowls like this. Again, I dusted the top with cocoa powder and then garnished with finely grated orange peel. I’ll probably take of the orange bits before I eat it though, so this is a purely decorative addition.