“Coraline opened the box of chocolates. The dog looked at them longingly. ‘Would you like one?’ she asked the little dog. ‘Yes, please,’ whispered the dog. ‘Only not toffee ones. They make me drool.’ ‘I thought chocolates weren’t very good for dogs,’ she said, remembering something Miss Forcible had once told her. ‘Maybe where you come from,’ whispered the little dog. ‘Here, it’s all we eat.’ “
I’m not sure why I am leading this post with a quote from Neil Gaiman except that he is one of my favorite writers. His imagination knows no bounds. He has a quirky sense of humor and a gentle way with words. It figures, I guess, that he would create an image of a fantasy world (albeit a creepy one in Coraline) where chocolate, the forbidden indulgence–at least for the little dog, morphs into an endless pleasure.
If, like me, you savor your quiet moments with a good bar of chocolate, this chocolate mousse is a stunner.
It is only fair that I give you a warning, though. This mousse may make you drool.
Recipe: Dark Chocolate Mousse
(This is my adaptation of a recipe from Sur La Table’s “Four Desserts Every Cook Should Know” cooking class in Costa Mesa. Gigi Pascual was our inspired and inspiring teacher.)
2 C. heavy whipping cream (divided)
4 large egg yolks
3 T. granulated sugar
1/8 t. fine sea salt
1 t. vanilla extract
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
Chocolate curls for decoration and whipped cream to top the mousse
Heat 3/4 cup cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Whisk four large egg yolks in a medium bowl with sugar and salt. Then, slowly whisk the warm cream into the yolk mixture . Put this mixture back in the saucepan and turn heat to medium-low. Stir the mixture constantly until it coats the back of a spoon. This should happen when the mixture registers 160 degrees F. which should take about five minutes. Pour the custard mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Add the vanilla. Set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir the chocolate mixture constantly while it melts. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and, using a whisk, mix the egg custard into the chocolate. The mixture should be smooth. Set aside to cool.
Put the remaining 1 1/4 C. cream into a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. This should take about 3 minutes. One-third of the whipped cream at a time, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate custard until it almost completely combined. Do not overmix; you want to keep some air in the cream. Your mousse is ready when the cream is thoroughly incorporated, the mousse is smooth and the color of the mousse is even.
Spoon the mousse into serving bowls and chill (covered) until the mousse is set. This will take about 2 hours. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you serve it to your guests.
Top with whipped cream, chocolate curls and a cherry.