Mousse au Chocolat

It’s been a while since I made chocolate mousse.  And the last time I did, my sister-in-law (who is an amazing pastry chef) did most of the work.  So I carefully studied the recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and prayed that my substitutions would work.

Since I had gotten myself snowed in without any granulated sugar, I had to substitute.  The maple sugar I did have seemed the best bet–a closer texture to superfine sugar than the brown sugar that was my other option.  I had just enough sugar cubes left to pound them fine to add to the egg whites while beating.  This is not a house that uses much sugar.  The other big challenge the house brought me was the lack of an electric mixer–beating both egg yolks and egg whites by hand is not something I would want to do every day.  But it was worth it.

I had amazing (but old) bittersweet spiced chocolate balls that I had bought at the Valrhona Chocolate shop in Tain l’Hermitage almost two years ago.  A bit chalky on the outside, chocolate mousse is the best way to use up old chocolate.  I didn’t understand why the egg yolks, sugar, and orange liqueur (I used a mixture of Campari, Cointreau, and Rose Syrup) needed to be whipped in so many stages–at room temperature, then on top of an almost-simmering pan of hot water, then on top of cold water–but it all came together.

The texture worked–that lightness along with the richness–and the spiciness from the chocolate was a delicious kick.   It was a perfect finish to a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner!

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