rage over 1950s and 1960s style is still going strong.
Midcentury architecture is back. Midcentury furniture is
back. Midcentury fashions are back. So why not some
and gentlemen, I give you chocolate mousse.
mousse has been gracing American tables at least since 1896.
But it truly came to prominence around 1950, when a recipe
for it ó using canned chocolate syrup ó appeared in the
best-selling first edition of "Betty Crockerís
Picture Cook Book."
couple of decades after that, fashionable dinner parties
were more likely than not to end with a dish of chocolate
mousse. It was part of the swinging í60s and the stylish
í70s. And then, relatively quickly, chocolate mousse
almost completely disappeared from American tables. Perhaps
too many people made it with canned chocolate syrup.
time has come to resurrect the popularity of this once
beloved dessert. Itís light and decadent and melts
seductively on your tongue. Itís not too sweet, itís not
many respects, it is the perfect dessert.
Maisonette in Cincinnati was long considered one of the best
restaurants in the country; it held a rare 5-star rating
from what was then the Mobil Travel Guide for 41 years,
longer than any other restaurant. My parents would go on
occasion, and one night, as the restaurant was closing, the
proprietor brought my father a big bowl of the nightís
remaining chocolate mousse. He ate every morsel.
years later, my father was diagnosed with diabetes even
though he was fairly trim and exercised regularly. At the
time, he said, "If this is because of that chocolate
mousse at the Maisonette, it was worth it."
mousse is the kind of dessert that can inspire that kind of
passion. And why not? It begins with chocolate, cream, eggs
and sugar ó a combination that is timeless on its own ó
and then turns it transcendent by whipping it full of air.
Thatís what turns a luscious and rich dessert into
something creamy and light.
only question is how to serve it. Iím a big fan of using
it in a tart, or you can also use it to fill those little
chocolate cups. But the classic way may be the purest and
the best: in a glass bowl, topped with whipped cream.
this point, it needs to be said that mousses are made with
raw eggs, and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture says
that no one should eat raw eggs (unless the eggs have been
pasteurized in the shell). Raw eggs should especially be
avoided by infants, young children, older adults, pregnant
women and people with weakened immune systems.
chocolate mousse is just so good. Strictly for the purposes
of science, you understand, I decided to make it in three
ways: ridiculously easy, somewhat more involved and fancy.
ridiculously easy way is also ridiculously fast ó you can
pull it together in about five minutes. This is the way I
make it at home, partly because of the five-minutes thing
and partly because it is so chocolaty and delicious. The
recipe was created by Annemarie Huste, who was the personal
chef to Jacqueline Kennedy after she left the White House,
and I figure if it is good enough for Jackie O (or Jackie K
at the time), itís good enough for me.
more than good enough; itís great. All you do is melt
chocolate with Kahlua (a coffee liqueur) and orange juice,
mix in egg yolks, vanilla and sugar, whip in some cream and
cool until it sets. Itís pure, smooth, rich goodness.
more involved version comes from Julia Child. I decided to
make it because mousse is a French dish, and with all French
dishes one should always consult Mme. Child.
Husteís version uses Kahlua and orange juice, Childís
requires Grand Marnier (an orange liqueur) and coffee.
Totally different thing.
the method of making it is different too, and that yields a
decidedly distinct result. Childís version uses heat to
combine egg yolk and sugar, chills it to thicken it, and
then stirs in chocolate melted with coffee and butter. Egg
whites that have been beaten to soft peaks are then folded
in, giving the mousse its texture. Though it is still light,
this one is sturdier than the faster version. It lasts
longer on your tongue, if not necessarily in your memory.
the fancy version of a mousse, I turned to Dominique Ansel,
the New York pastry chef who became instantly famous when he
created the crazily trendy cronut, a cross between a
croissant and a doughnut. His mousse is made by folding a
thick chocolate ganache into a fairly stiff meringue, giving
his version even more body than Julia Childís.
then he goes the extra step, which makes his mousse as
delightful to see as it is to eat. Just before serving, he
swirls in a tablespoon of fresh whipped cream, creating a
lovely and enticing pattern in the chocolate. You gobble it
up with your eyes before you ever introduce it to your
a clever way of taking a midcentury classic and bringing it
up to date.
FAST CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
3 servings (can easily be doubled, tripled or more)
ounces semisweet chocolate
tablespoons orange juice
teaspoon vanilla extract
cup granulated sugar
a small pot on low heat, melt the chocolate in the Kahlua
and orange juice, and set aside to cool.
the egg yolks, eggs, vanilla and sugar in a blender or food
processor; blend for 2 minutes on medium high speed. Add the
heavy cream and blend 30 more seconds. Add the melted
chocolate mixture and blend until smooth.
Pour into a bowl or individual cups and refrigerate several
hours or overnight.
serving: 758 calories; 56 g fat; 33 g saturated fat; 357 mg
cholesterol; 12 g protein; 58 g carbohydrate; 48 g sugar; 4
g fiber; 85 mg sodium; 87 mg calcium.
by Annemarie Huste, Annemarieís Cookingschool
CHILDíS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
6 to 8 servings (about 5 cups)
cup superfine sugar, see note
cup orange liqueur
ounces semisweet baking chocolate
tablespoons strong coffee
ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
tablespoon granulated sugar
Superfine sugar can be purchased at a store, or you can make
it yourself by placing sugar in a blender and blending it on
medium high for 10 to 15 seconds.
Heat a pot of water almost large enough to hold a mixing
bowl until it is not quite simmering. Fill a basin or bowl
with ice water. The bowl should be large enough to hold a
Using a hand-held mixer, beat the egg yolks and superfine
sugar together until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and
falls back upon itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon.
Beat in the orange liqueur. Then set the mixing bowl over
the not-quite-simmering water and continue beating for 3 to
4 minutes until the mixture is foamy and too hot for your
finger. Place the bowl in the ice water and beat 3 to 4
minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms the
ribbon. It will have the consistency of mayonnaise.
another bowl, melt the chocolate with coffee over the pot of
hot water. Remove from heat and beat in the butter, a bit at
a time, to make a smooth cream. Beat the chocolate into the
egg yolks and sugar.
a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks
are formed; sprinkle on the granulated sugar and beat until
stiff peaks are formed. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the
chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest. Turn into serving dish,
dessert cups or ramekins. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or
Serve with whipped cream or creme anglaise.
serving (based on 8): 404 calories; 27 g fat; 16 g saturated
fat; 139 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 35 g carbohydrate; 32
g sugar; 2 g fiber; 58 mg sodium; 20 mg calcium.
from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," by
Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck
10 to 12 servings
large egg whites, at room temperature
ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably 70 percent cacao,
a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a
boil over moderately high heat. Cook, without stirring,
until the syrup reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer,
4 to 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the
whisk, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft
peaks form. With the mixer on, gradually pour in the hot
syrup in a steady stream and beat at high speed until the
whites are stiff, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover this meringue with
plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature.
the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan,
heat the milk just to a simmer. Pour the milk over the
chocolate and let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth
and let cool.
a bowl, beat the cream to soft peaks. Reserve a generous 1/2
cup of the whipped cream for serving.
Scoop half of the meringue into a bowl (reserve the rest for
another use). Whisk in the remaining whipped cream.
Warm the chocolate mixture in a bowl set over a pan of
simmering water, stirring, until just melted. Pour the
chocolate over the meringue and quickly fold it in. Spoon
the mousse into glasses, swirl in the reserved whipped cream
(about 1 tablespoon per serving) and serve.
serving (based on 12): 385 calories; 30 g fat; 18 g
saturated fat; 57 mg cholesterol; 6 g protein; 34 g
carbohydrate; 28 g sugar; 4 g fiber; 38 mg sodium; 50 mg
by Dominique Ansel in Food and Wine
BUTTER TART CRUST
1 (8 1/2-inch) tart shell
tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter (European style is
best, such as Plugra)
tablespoon vegetable oil
tablespoon granulated sugar
5 ounces (1 slightly mounded cup) all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 410 degrees.
an oven-safe bowl, such as Pyrex, combine the butter, oil,
water, sugar and salt. Place in the hot oven for 15 minutes,
until the mixture is boiling and the butter starts browning.
Remove from the oven, add some of the flour, and stir it in
quickly. Keep adding flour, one spoonful at a time, until
the dough pulls off the sides of the bowl and forms a ball.
Once the dough is cool enough to touch, press it into an 8
1/2-inch tart mold evenly with your fingertips. Pierce the
bottom with a fork and press the sides with the back of the
fork to form ridges. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust
is light brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Fill with chocolate
mousse or any other tart filling you wish.
serving (based on 8 servings): 162 calories; 11 g fat; 6 g
saturated fat; 23 mg cholesterol; 2 g protein; 15 g
carbohydrate; 2 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 21 mg sodium; 5 mg
by Paule Caillat in "Genius Recipes," by Kristen