Bonjour once more, dear friend! You’ve made it just in time to help us make dessert. Yes, I know it’s early but this one should sit in the fridge for a while and it is a perfect day for a cold treat. I hope you like it as much as we do. It’s chocolate mousse! This whipped and creamy dessert is so much lighter than pudding. It is simple to make and the only trick is not to burn the chocolate. Don’t worry, we’ll do it together. But first, let’s walk over to the little village shop, where we can get all the ingredients.
The walk to the little store is quiet. The summer is over and the tourists have gone home. We pass the brasserie where Filo folds pizza boxes for this evening’s orders “à emporté” (to take away). He sees us and calls, “Salut!” (hi), with a smile. It’s contagious and we smile back and say, “Bonne journée!” (have a good day). At the store, Thierry calls “Bonjour” from his cash register as we walk on to the cheese counter to ask his wife, Ann, for the eggs. “Les petits ou les gros? (the small or large)?” she asks and I say, “Les petits, s’il te plaît!” You noticed the informal use? Yes, “s’il vous plaît”is the formal “if you please”. Ann and Thierry long ago insisted we use the informal ‘tu‘ form. As a rule, we use it only for family or children and, unless invited to call someone ‘tu‘, we use ‘vous‘ to be polite. These smaller eggs come from a villager’s coop just across the lane from our kitchen garden. We can see the chickens running free there every morning when we walk our dog. Their classic gallic rooster perches proudly on top of the fence and announces to the world that he is definitely “le coq de la marche” around here.
Ann places 4 white eggs and 2 brown ones into the small carton we have brought with us. We add butter, a litre of milk, powdered sugar, and a bar of dark chocolate to our basket. The sugar will sweeten the chocolate and the egg whites will give the mousse its light, fluffy texture. Milk is essential to make the dessert creamy. At the register, Thierry greets you like an old friend and when he sees what is in our basket, asks, “dessert?” “Oui! Mousse au Chocolat!” we inform him. He smiles and says “Bon! À tout à l’heure, quand c’est fait!” (Good, I’ll see you later when it’s made!) We laugh and pay for our supplies then home we go to make this treat.
You can just sit back in our French kitchen and relax until it’s time to beat the egg whites – then you can help! This will take only 10-20 minutes to make. Afterwards we’ll take a long drive and have lunch somewhere so that the desert can sit in the fridge for two to three hours. By the time we get back, it will be ready to eat. Here’s how to make an authentic Mousse au Chocolat that serves 4 people:
4 oz. Unsweetened Baking Chocolate……3 Eggs……2 Tbsp. Powered sugar (or plain Sugar)
3 Tbsp. Butter……Lemon Juice (optional)……Pinch of Salt
I separate the eggs and put all the whites in one bowl and just two yolks in another. I have no use for the third yolk, so I throw it away and call it cholesterol reduction. While I do that, my husband adds the sugar and salt to the yolks and beats them until they are uniformly pale. At the cutting board, I chop the chocolate into smaller bits.(not too small, just like this) They go into a small bowl with 3 Tablespoons of water. Notice the bowl fits into the small saucepan that is ¼ full of water, so I can use them as “bain-marie” (double boiler). I put the heat on low and stir the chocolate all the time so that it can’t burn. (here is how I set up the pan and bowl) The water should simmer under the bowl but never boil. Turn off the heat if that happens and continue without heat. Okay, the chocolate’s melted, so I add the butter. As I stir the mix becomes smooth and shiny.
Thanks for helping out, did you find the whisk? If you add half a teaspoon of lemon juice to the eggs whites, it keeps them from getting grainy. You beat the egg whites until they are standing in peaks.(they look great – see!) I stir the chocolate and my husband pours in the beaten yolks. I take the chocolate mixture off the heat and stir until it cools a little bit. Those whites look great! We carefully add the egg whites. Make sure to just barley introduce the whites into the chocolate. Fold it together very gently so that the tiny bubbles stay intact. (these photos show the way it should look)
Now, spoon the mousse into the dessert glasses. Voilà! That’s all there is to it. Sometimes, when it’s just my husband and I, we simply put the bowl straight into the fridge and then serve it in small bowls. For guests, the glasses give it some class. The desserts go into the refrigerator and now for the hard part – the wait! But, it must set properly or it will be runny. This takes at least 2 hours so let’s go out and enjoy the day.
We get in the car and go for a pleasant drive along the long sandy coastline to the rocky Côte Vermeille. (see this shot taken on the way) We stop for lunch in Banyuls-sur-Mer. It’s lovely to sit by the deep blue water and watch the comings and goings of this small Mediterranean fishing village. However, soon the thought of our dessert lures us back to the car. Ah, home! Let’s see, yes, our treat looks perfect. Let me add a sweet biscuit to mine and take a photo for my scrapbook. At last, we sit at the table and taste that first cold, creamy bite.
Chocolate paradise must taste like this. The rich flavor holds just the lightest touch of heavenly sweetness. (photo 1 – the finished product) There is no more talking as we savor each mouthful. We try to keep each spoonful small so that the experience will last a few moments longer. Finally, when the last trace is gone, we look into the empty glasses with regret. The best things in life are fleeting. Maybe next time, we will substitute the dark chocolate with white. By the way, if you use white or milk chocolate, leave out the sugar or it will be too sweet!
We’re so glad you stopped by. Maybe we will see you next month when the weather cools down, it will be time for a warm dessert, and we’ll make another of those “Just French desserts”. Come over and we’ll share our recipe for Tarte Tatin!