Sunday, 24 April 2011

Too Hot For Chocolate?

Do you get influenced by movies? I do. Some characters are so compelling, interesting and adoring, how could I not want to be just like them? And honestly, a part of me feels like that some of these fictional people are simply another side of me. Is it any wonder there is an instant feeling of familiarity and ease when viewing them on the big screen?
After watching The Horseman on the Roof I dyed most of my clothes blue and ate nothing but toast with honey for weeks. Le Double Vie de Véronique sent me on a life-long quest in search of a see-through rubber ball that, when looking through it, turns the world up side down. (I still haven’t found one). Bringing up Baby left me longing for a pet leopard and Cary Grant, not to mention Katharine Hepburn’s wardrobe. Claude Lelouch’s masterpiece, La Belle Histoire, truly surprised me. All of a sudden I wanted to be a bee-keeper, just like Marie. Great movies are like that, they unravel different, hidden, unknown sides of us. Of course I’m not taking about a regular bee-keeper here. The beautiful Marie was also an amazing teacher and had known Jesus as a child. In a previous life, but still. Marie and I even have the same colour hair, but could I overcome my fear of bees?
Now, you can only imagine the effect the movie Chocolat had one me. This movie confirmed what I already knew to be true. That chocolate is magical, irresistible, and sometimes life-changing. Vianne and her chocolate shop, what a dream. A dream that is a bit more realistic than owning a farm in Africa or running around in a copper bikini, at least in my case. However, I can totally picture opening up a chocolate shop in the country. What a treat that would be.    

Today I’m making chocolate mousse. It’s simply too hot to deal with batter, frosting and ovens. I also don’t have the patience to make truffles. Chocolate mousse is so quick to prepare. Just make, scoop and chill. See, today the sun is actually shining and there is not a single cloud in the sky. I’ve made a big pitcher of chilled jasmine tea, the picnic blanket is washed and ready, and I have a stack of books to read. However, I know when the evening comes, and it’s time to put on a cashmere cardigan and light some candles, I’ll be happy there is a delicious mousse waiting in the fridge. It’s the perfect way to end a perfect day.  

Milk Chocolate Mousse

250 g milk chocolate cut in small pieces
3 eggs
60 gram sugar
2, 5 dl whipping cream

Melt the chocolate over very low heat, stir now and then. When it’s all melted and shiny, set aside to chill.

Whip cream with an electric mixer. (I’ll say it again; Kenwood makes the best kitchen appliances). Whipping cream is easy, but if you whip the cream for too long it actually turns into butter. So just watch it, stop when its light and fluffy.

Now we need to whip the eggs and sugar until pale and air-light. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Unlike the cream, there is no such thing as mixing the eggs for too long. If you don’t have two mixing bowls, just scrape out the cream into another bowl and put it in the fridge. Wash the mixing bowl squeaky clean and dry it really well before putting the eggs in it. If there is any moisture left in the bowl, the eggs won’t mix the way you want. You will be left with a runny, yellow mix. This would be perfect for pancakes, not so great for mousse.  Just keep in mind what you are making while preparing the ingredients for it. Mousse is light, so everything we put in it must be light as well. Does that make sense?

When the eggs are ready, fold the melted chocolate in with the egg-mixture. Use a rubber spatula or a big, flat spoon. If you whisk or stir too quickly, the eggs will loose its lovely fluffiness.

When that is all blended together, fold in the whipped cream.

The last step is to pour the mousse into dessert bowls. It always looks really nice in wine glasses, or even in a big, clear dessert bowl. Whatever you have will do. Leave it in the fridge for minimum 2 hours. Serve with a sprinkle of chocolate, a mint leaf and fresh berries on the side.

Are there any questions?

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