I'm sure I have to be the thousand and eleventy-ninth person to blog about Julia Child since the movie came out. I don't care. She was special, and I want to say that here. I think it was her authenticity, both in her recipes and in her daily life that has endeared her to so many.
Today I'm making her Chocolate Mousse, and speaking of authenticity, this is the real deal. This recipe uses no heavy whipping cream. Instead, raw eggs. I would be lying if I said I had no hesitations, but after reading information that David Lebovitz provided, I can say I feel much better. For complete egg education, read this. You may feel better too.
If you're going to make a killer chocolate mousse, then you'll need some killer chocolate. Bittersweet or semisweet will be best for this recipe. 6 oz. of the finest grade available.
In a glass bowl, break the chocolate into smaller pieces, add butter and strongly brewed coffee to the mixture. Place the glass bowl over a simmering pot of water, about 1/3 full. Stir the mixture until thoroughly melted and smooth. Remove from simmering pot and set aside.
Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl and set aside.
In another glass bowl, combine the egg yolks, 2/3 cup of sugar, rum and water. You'll place this over the simmering water and beat with a wire whisk until thickened, about 4 minutes. During this time you may think your arm is going to fall off from all the whisking. Just consider this a workout, and at the end you get to eat chocolate mousse.
You'll know the yolk mixture is ready when it lightens and sugar has completely dissolved. Now you're ready to place the bowl into the water bath. More whisking. This time, you'll whisk until the mixture becomes markedly thick (like cake batter) and cooled. This could take a while, but remember,
In yet another bowl whip the egg whites and salt on medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add one tablespoon of sugar and beat on high until whites are glossy, just shy of the stiff peak stage. G.e.n.t.l.y. fold in egg whites 1/3 at a time to the chocolate and yolk mixture until well incorporated.
The mousse is now ready to go into serving dishes, or one large serving dish. I wanted to have a little fun with my presentation, so I used my small punch cups and placed them at an angle on a salvaged egg carton.
You can either pipe the mousse with a decorating bag (or heck, a ziplock!) or gently spoon mousse into the cups. Place them in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
I piped in some whipped cream (heavy cream, sugar) after the mousse had set and added a little chocolate garnish on top. This mousse is so very chocolaty, rich and delicious that it really requires no additional adornment. I like it plain just as well.
Making this nostalgic mousse was gratifying, like being part of past era, and another place. Julia, God rest your soul, and thank you.