Chocolate Mousse Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
" I, for one, would much rather swoon over a few thin slices of prime beefsteak, or one small serving of chocolate mousse, or a sliver of foie gras than indulge to the full on such nonentities as fat-free gelatin puddings."
~ Julia Child (1912-2004)
Alexandre Viard, chef to Louis XVI and Napoleon, first described this dessert, later referred to as "mousse au chocolat" in the 1820 edition of his culinary encyclopedia, Le Cuisinier Royal. But the popularity of this tasty chocolate dessert really began to surge when the French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), who was also known for his culinary skills, came up with a recipe he first named “mayonnaise au chocolat.” Peter Hastings' actual recipe included!
Peter Hastings' Chocolate Mousse
The origins of chocolate mousse are relatively unknown. Mousse, which means "foam", originated sometime in France in the 18th century. When the ability to create blendable creamy chocolate became standard, these two concepts came together into"mousse au chocolat." Early recipes were more pudding-like than the modern fluffy versions of today, which introduced egg whites, separated from the yolks, beaten and folded in to provide an airy texture.
Here is the recipe for Peter Hastings' Chocolate Mousse (kindly provided by Peter Hastings) along with the namesake dance!
PETER HASTINGS' CHOCOLATE MOUSSE RECIPE
2oz or 50gm dark chocolate
These quantities are for one generous serving. They can be scaled up at least to 3 dozen eggs and 1800 gm of chocolate - I don't have a larger bowl than that...
The chocolate I favour is the plain eating variety sold by Sainsbury, it has a cocoa solids content of 42%. Anything more and the mousse sets hard. Anything less just isn't chocolatey enough.
Melt the chocolate in the bowl in which the mousse will finally be served (unless you want to serve individual portions in, for example, wineglasses) over a pan of hot water. Alternatively, use a double boiler.
While the chocolate is melting, separate the eggs and break up the egg yolks to form a smooth liquid.
Once the chocolate is completely free of any unmelted lumps, remove from the heat and fold in the yolks to form a uniform dark brown mass. Leave this to cool while...
Beat the egg whites to a 'soft peak' consistency. If you do this with a hand whisk then the chocolate lump will cool sufficiently to allow you to immediately fold in the egg whites.
These are folded into the lump of chocolate+yolks to form a smooth deep brown liquid. When making this on a large scale (more than, say, 10 servings or so) two things should be noted. Shortly after the egg whites are added, the contents of your bowl will not smell particularly appealing - this is temporary and can be ignored. When the whole lot has formed a smooth, mid-brown, liquid keep stirring - a darker brown liquid will well up within the bowl as you stir. When this is combined with the lighter stuff you're done.
Refrigerate for two hours or so. For individual servings, a small wineglass is about right. A large glass or tumbler is too much. For a lighter mousse which is not so rich cut back a bit on the chocolate - anything down to about 1oz/25gm per egg is fine.
And for a chocolate mousse/moose of another kind, click the moose!