The mousse stripped bare. Coffee, donuts & a cigar

I just realised the other day that I hadn’t eaten chocolate mousse in a long time. Certainly not chocolate mousse in the sense of eating it straight from a bowl, served with nothing more than a spoon. B hadn’t either, but only because most mousses contain cream, which he, being lactose intolerant, can’t have. When I saw Alice Medrich’s recipe for Albert’s Mousse, a chocolate mousse she devised for her brother who couldn’t eat dairy, I knew I had to make this for him.

These days, people would probably laugh and call it quaint and homely, if you served them an unadorned bowl of chocolate mousse. It needs to be tricked up, in layers, or presented with height, with frills like spun sugar, glazed nuts or gold leaf, before we would even look twice. I love the frills, but when faced with a mousse stripped bare, I’m reminded again, of just how good some basics are. Chocolate mousse that is smooth and rich, yet incredibly light and airy, with the delight of trapped bubbles bursting against the roof of your mouth with each spoonful. Things can only get more MA 15+ from then on!

Of course, if you want to complicate life, you could serve it as a chocolate cigar. Pipe the mousse into cigar shaped chocolate tuilles, and seal the ends by dipping into melted chocolate, if you wish. Place the cigars alongside a dish of “coffee and donuts”. I baked some spiced hazelnut financiers at work many weeks ago that someone said tasted like donuts. It got me thinking about a coffee and donut dessert, a la Keller. At home, I baked the financiers (stuffed in the middle with a few squares of chocolate) in a larger mould, and served them with coffee flavoured chocolate sauce, chocolate coated coffee crumble and a cinnamon foam. A coffee ice-cream, incorporated into this dessert somehow, would have been great too. But don’t forget, it all starts with that amazing chocolate mousse.

Albert’s Mousse :
(makes about 4 cups; from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich)

170g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (50% – 62%), finely chopped
70g water, coffee, or milk, or 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons brandy, rum or liquor of choice
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons sugar

Place the chocolate and the water (or liquid of your choice) in a medium heatproof bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until chocolate is nearly melted. Remove the bowl and stir until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the liquor, if using, and set aside.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs with the 3 tablespoons of water and the sugar until well blended. Set the bowl in a skillet of not-even-simmering water and, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling, cook until they register 71’C on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bowl and beat with an electric mixer at high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until the eggs have a texture like softly whipped cream. Fold about one-quarter of the eggs into the chocolate. Scrape the chocolate mixture onto the remaining beaten eggs and fold just until evenly incorporated. Divide the mousse into ramekins. Chill for at least 1 hour, or until set, before serving.

Serve topped with whipped cream, if desired.

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  1. Lorraine E said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 10:46 am

    Love the first and final pic-the final one almost looks like an “action” shot with the foam and chocolate swirl! Is the coffee ice cream sprinkled with sugar?

  2. Anh said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 10:46 am

    Hm, nice! I do not really like choc mousse, but with coffee, I think I am sold.

  3. Y said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 10:53 am

    Thanks Anh! I somehow get a lot of child like glee out of eating chocolate mousse, because of it’s airiness.

    Lorraine : Ah, no, there’s no coffee ice-cream on the plate – only in hindsight did I think it would make a great addition. The sugar coated thing is the financier.

  4. Christie@fig&cherry said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 10:53 am

    You are such a sweet girlfriend! Hope the boy enjoyed every mouthful! 🙂

  5. Y said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 10:57 am

    Christie : He loved it, but I think he was still thinking about that fallen chocolate souffle cake at the time 😉

  6. Andrea said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

    I love that picture because you can really see all those little bubbles that squish on your tongue and the roof of your mouth (as you said much more eloquently than that). I alos love the idea of a simple, unadorned bowl. But man do those little cigar things looks good. I bet it’s a great contrast in textures!

  7. Reemski said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 8:22 pm

    Ah, yum. A friend of mine makes a cheat’s mousse with some kind of tinned milk? I’ll have to find out, as it was yum, and slightly weird…but a great shortcut.

    But tell me, what is a financier? Is it cake like or more biscuit like?

  8. Y said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

    Andrea : The cigars turned out really well… I’m already thinking about other different flavoured cigars I could make 🙂

    Reemski : Tinned milk as in condensed milk? Anyway, chocolate mousses are usually pretty easy to put together that I’ve never really found the need for any sort of shortcuts. 🙂

    Financiers are sort of cakey, like friands. This one was also very moist and.. donuty 🙂

  9. cathy x. said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

    will you show me how to make foam some day? pretty please? 😀

  10. FFichiban said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

    Yumm^^! looks so light and airy indeed. I thought they were donuts too when I first saw the financiers and the foam and chocolate is such a nice touch 😀

  11. Maggie (Pithy and Cleaver) said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 12:35 am

    Oh this looks really tasty. Would there be any problem doing this in one big dish instead of ramekins?

  12. Y said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 12:44 am

    Cathy: Sure! All you need is a stick blender – might want to add that to you list of must-gets, along with that KA! 😉

    Hi Maggie! I don’t see why not – the mousse scoops really well and I would’ve done the same except I do quite like the whole individual-portions thing. I set mine in tea cups 🙂

  13. Shreya said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 1:28 am

    Love this! Last pic is too good..Awesome:-)

  14. Marysol said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 1:45 am

    You’ve definitely captured the essence of what chocolate mousse ought to look like, and I’ll bet it tastes even better than it looks.

  15. Eileen said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 7:38 am

    This all sounds so fantastic. And what could be better than pairing it with a really, really good cup of coffee! Perfect!

  16. Chocolate Shavings said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 10:12 am

    “Your chocolate mousse looks great.. but I especially love the look of those chocolate cigars. Great pictures!

  17. grace said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 10:20 am

    creamy. luscious. smooth. delicious. shall i go on? 🙂

  18. Sophie said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 11:17 am

    Your cigars are too adorable. The only ones I’d every try ;). Those financiers sound delicious, anything that tastes like donuts is a winner in my book :).

  19. Mike said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

    That is one of the sexiest chocolate mousses I’ve ever seen. I love the idea of the cigars and it really looks and sounds spectacular. Beautifully done!

  20. Tartelette said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

    I still remember digging my spoon into my aunt’s bowl of chocolate mousse…one large serving dish and I could not wait to feel those little bubbles bursting against the roof of my mouth! Such strong memories involved in such a basic and classic dessert! Yes, it all starts with mousse!!

  21. arfi said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

    I like mousse, although sometimes chocolate mousse feels too rich for my sensitive tummy. But I still remember the delicate melt-in-the-mouth sensation with chocolate mousse…

  22. the caked crusader said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

    Glad that you rectified this awful situation…to not have chocolate mousse in a long time is a terrible crime!
    Love the choc cigars – not sure I’ve got the patience (or skill) to make them – but they look stunning

  23. B said,

    October 10, 2008 @ 1:08 am

    I love that last photo too…although, it looks like a foam hand there reaching up from the depths and trying to drag the financier away from my willing tastebuds!

  24. clumbsycookie said,

    October 10, 2008 @ 3:57 am

    Jesus woman the last picture is gorgeous!!! Plain simple chocolate mouse is so underated sometimes….

  25. Jude said,

    October 10, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

    Love the substitution suggestions for heavy cream. Whether in cigar form or from a bowl, I’m sure this is going to be delicious!

  26. Cakelaw said,

    October 10, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

    I think the unadorned bowl of mousse looks magnificent myself! And the cigars are such a clever idea – perfect for a fancy dinner party.

  27. Vera said,

    October 11, 2008 @ 3:29 am

    The mousse is lovely by itself, but the way you served it makes it magnificent!

  28. Eva said,

    October 11, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

    I made chocolate mousse, too, this week but it being a dinner party, I didn’t have time (or energy left) to snap a picture. Your gorgeous photo makes me want to start allover again..;-)

  29. Scott at Realepicurean said,

    October 14, 2008 @ 6:59 am

    I can’t make anything fiddly with chocolate; it all seems to melt in my hands sticking all over the place. I blame it on the halogen bulbs in the kitchen, but it’s probably down to my poor technique 🙁

  30. Miri said,

    October 15, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

    I’m all for the real (and simple) thing when it comes to chocolate mousse – I’d love just eating it with spoonfuls until I empty the serving cup 🙂 Don’t get me wrong though, the cigar looks marvelous as well!

  31. zoe said,

    January 28, 2009 @ 12:18 am

    i like the choclate mousse because its rich and i like rich desserts

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