Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chocolate Mousse....

Herve This style., or so, of entirely unexpected cooking. A kind of year of cooking dangerously, or so I had imagined it before the Julie and Julia film came out.....

I've ordered the chemicals, picked out the recipes, made a list, and the next months are to be spent cracking open pigs skulls, pressing pates, whipping up oddly flavoured spheres, caviars, and counter instinctual constructions. And working on more classical skills.

Chocolate Chantilly, a mousse of chocolate and water. Entirely easy, and utterly contrary to what had been cooking convention - don't mix chocolate and water. The actual end result is light, with a good texture, and tastes purely of chocolate. No fatty medium(other than that already in the chocolate) to carry the taste, or coat the tongue. No dairy, no egg, no added sugar. Just a pure, clean, concentrated hit of chocolate in mousse form. Almost too intense......
The video is posted below, permanent link here...

Generally, adding water to warm chocolate results in a grainy, coagulating, sticky and depressing mess. Because, in small amounts, water encourages the sugars and certain other elements to clump together in larger globules, creating an uneven, clumpy and grainy end product.

In this recipe, rather than mixing water in chocolate, chocolate is mixed in water, Think of it as an emulsion. Think of oil and water. Think of the fact that they don't mix. Except when they do. Mayonnaise. Oil is added drop by drop, and continually whisked, into egg , yolks or whites, which contain quite a lot of water can be used. The lecithin in the eggs is the emulsifier, helping bring the whole mix together and stabilise it. The whisking keeps the globules small enough for the emulsification to work. It's the same deal with a vinaigrette, with mustard often used as the emulsifier, and shaking the bottle mixing up the molecules, and keeping all those globules, or fat droplets nice and small. The vinegar contains the water.

The same principles as in mayo and vinaigrettes, roughly, appear to hold with this recipe. But you need enough water for it to be the medium that you are mixing in. With small amounts of water, you get grainy, unemulsified, clumpy depressing mess... The chocolate I used contained soya lecithin, an emulsifier, and the mix took on a whipped cream texture - not quite mayo, but in the ball park. Your choctolate may contain this, or others - esters of citric acids, mono/di glycerides......
My guess is these help, but that's just my guess.....

Advantages of this recipe:

It's quick. 20 minutes from opening up a bar of chocolate to having a set mousse.

No fridge time.(You can make it after the main course, and serve straight)

No added dairy, sugar, or eggs.

A really clean and intense hit of the chocolate you use. If you use Valrhona, that's what it tastes like.

The taste of truffle, with the texture of mousse.

If you screw it up - and I did. Just pop it back in a saucepan, and start again.


200 ml of water.
225 g of dark chocolate (circa 70%)

I used two cheap Tesco own brand slabs of 70 percent nonsense, to work on technique.

Prepare an ice bath - one bowl with ice, and a little water, and a second, smaller bowl, to sit inside this.

Add the chocolate and water to a saucepan. Heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts.

Remove from the heat.
Pour into the smaller bowl, and place it in the ice bath.
Whisk, like billy-o, in the words of Mr Blumenthal.
You should, eventually get a double cream, and then a whipped cream, consistency. Stop here. Much more and it will be over-whipped.

And here you go....

Chocolate Chantilly....
Recipe notes:
Don't over-whip.
Use an electric mixer, and finish off with a handwhisk.
Because the taste of chocolate is so clean, the quality of the ingredient must be high quality.
The intensity means that, except for dark chocolate fiends who consume vampirically, small amounts are the ethic.
Can this work with lighter chocolates?
Additional additives - orange oil, bergamot, vanilla essence........

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