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Valentine’s Day Mousse
We don’t usually celebrate Valentines’ Day in our house, at least not in the traditional, heart-shaped box of candy way. Honestly, I’d much rather have a lovely grass-fed leg of lamb or a bag of pork rinds made from a free-foraging pig.
Call me a hopeless romantic!
But am a softie for pink and red and hearts, and in spite of myself, I fell for a recipe I found on FOOD52 last week. I tested it this morning, and if chocolate is your thing on Valentine’s Day, I wholeheartedly recommend this chocolate mousse recipe. It’s a treat, make no mistake about that, but the ingredients are high-quality dark chocolate and water. That’s it! If you’re going to indulge a little on February 14, this seems like a way to do it that won’t leave you feeling like there’s a kettlebell in your stomach.
This mousse is straight-up chocolate. Rich. Deep. Dark. Complex.
The original recipe says you can add liqueurs or other flavorings. I considered a pinch of cinnamon or chipotle powder to add a little zing, but Dave advocated for the chocolate to remain unmolested . I couldn’t just let it be, so I added a pinch of salt to the cooking step. We also sprinkled a pinch of coarse salt on top, along with a dollop of coconut whipped cream. We were both right: the unadorned chocolate taste was amazing, and the contrast of the salt amped up the sweet of the bittersweet chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Mousse From Hervé This
The original recipe says it serves 4, but they would be massive servings. I cut the recipe in half and still think it serves 4. If you want to top it with coconut milk whipped cream, put the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator at least 24 hours before you want to eat it. I also recommend putting your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least an hour before whipping. For what it’s worth, Dave liked it more without the whipped cream, so you might want to skip the extra work.
4 ounces 71% cacao dark chocolate
3 ounces water
1-2 ice cube trays worth of ice
1/2 can coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
coarse sea salt
Place a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Break the chocolate into large chunks and place in the pan with the water and a pinch of salt. Stir with a whisk to melt the chocolate into the water. It should look like old fashioned chocolate syrup: smooth, slightly shiny, and liquidy. Turn off the heat.
Dump the ice cubes into a large bowl and add about 1 cup of cold water. Place a slightly smaller bowl inside the large bowl and scrape the hot chocolate sauce into the top bowl. Grab a wire whisk and whisk that stuff like your life depends on it. The ice bath underneath cools the cbocolate, and the whisking action incorporates air that create the fluffy, mousse-like texture. It took me about 3-4 minutes to get to the desired consistency. At first, it seemed like it would never happen. My arm may have gotten very tired. But I kept going — and you will, too! If your mousse suddenly cools and thickens too quickly, you can re-melt it and start over. So forgiving! (See the original recipe for troubleshooting, but I had no problems.) Spoon the mousse into serving dishes and refrigerate if you’re not going to eat it immediately.
If you’re making whipped cream, remove your bowl and beater from the freezer. Spoon half the thickened, chilled coconut milk into the mixing bowl and save the rest for a curry. Add the extract to the bowl, then beat the coconut milk for 5 or so minutes until it takes on the texture of whipped cream. Dollop on top of the mousse, then sprinkle the top of the dessert with a pinch of coarse sea salt. Serve and relish the compliments.