We made our first chocolate mousse dessert, and it counts towards a contest! Thomas Allen & Son Ltd. is challenging Canadian home chefs and bloggers to create recipes from Jacques Pépin's newest cookbook, Essential Pepin. I thought I would give it a try for my chance to win a copy of the cookbook.
One could make an entire Pépin meal from the three recipes provided:
a) Composed salad of greens, goat cheese, and caramelized pecans
b) Chicken in tarragon sauce
c) Chocolate mousse
Each one that you make would count as an entry. The salad and chicken was tempting, but I went for the dessert!
The recipe is pretty simple, calling for sugar, egg yolks, bittersweet/semisweet chocolate, heavy cream, and cognac/dark rum/Grand Marnier. I was probably over confident, because this dessert took us longer than I thought!
First of all, I bought table cream from Shopper's by accident. My mousse-making partner and I figured something was wrong when it wouldn't form soft peaks after intensive whipping. So we had to put our chocolate and egg yolk mixture aside and go to the supermarket.
No Frills was sold out of heavy cream! How about Wal-Mart? Crap, it wasn't a Superstore with the fridge aisles. Even our last hope, a Daisy Mart convenience store, no luck. So we went home and debated risking the mousse by using the bubbly table cream. Was everyone making desserts with heavy cream this weekend?
Then we received good news, Howard found some and brought over just enough for the recipe! Hooray, we could continue...
Unfortunately, our chocolate mixture had gotten hard by the time we finally had soft peaks from our cream. The chocolate had probably seized and started to break down. In which Pépin suggests to "immediately stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream to smooth out the mixture."
Oh crap again. We didn't get a chance to do that "immediately" because we didn't have whipped cream at that time.
We warmed it up again and tried our best to salvage it. Then we folded in the whipped cream until it was as smooth as it could get.
Then, we funneled the mixture into four cups and one take-out container for my mousse-making partner to take some home (it made six servings - perfect). We didn't end up chilling it for two hours because we were keen on decorating them before the sun went down.
For two of the glasses, we piped little poofs on top of the already firmed mousse with the whipped cream we set aside. Then sprinkled some cinnamon on it. For the other two, we added a layer of milk chocolate Crispearls and then piped on whipped cream. Yum!
And for some odd reason, we had it in our heads that we were making chocolate pudding that day. Some weird switch must have happened in my mind, so when it didn't turn out jiggly, we thought we made it wrong. But upon checking the recipe title, we realized that it was correct! What a day of ups and downs!