Taste and Convenience Test: High-end vs. Low-end Chocolate Mousse

Grace emailed me a few weeks ago that she made blender chocolate mousse that required no cooking.  Yet it was made with eggs.  Hmm.  I decided it would be fun to compare a traditional French chocolate mousse (yeah, Julia again) to her fast and easy blender mousse.  I want to compare flavor and texture against easy.  I’m using Kurt as my primary taste tester, because Ken tends to shy away from semi-sweet chocolate.

The Julia Child recipe is from her classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking; I first made it when I was 10, so although the steps are numerous, it’s not impossible to make.  I found an online copy of the recipe from the Boston Globe (Julia lived in Boston); you can find it here.  The recipe is correct in stating you will use a lot of bowls to prepare this dessert!  I don’t know where Grace found her blender mousse recipe; I’ll start with hers and get it out of the way since it’s quick and easy.  She said, “It was yummy with whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon.”

For the taste test, I served the mousses out of the same type of bowl; the Julia recipe makes almost twice as much.  I also matched the chocolate (Nestle’s chips) and flavoring (orange liqueur).

No-cook Blender Chocolate Mousse

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chips
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c cream
  • 1 TB brandy (I used orange liqueur to match Julia Child’s recipe)
Just a few ingredients for the blender!

Just a few ingredients for the blender!

Place chocolate chips, salt, sugar and egg in a blender and blend until combined.  Scald cream (tiny bubbles just beginning to appear).  Add the cream to the blender.

The heat from the cream will melt the pulverized chocolate chips!

The heat from the cream will melt the pulverized chocolate chips!

Let the cream sit for a minute or two to melt the chocolate, then blend to combine.

Add the liqueur once everything else has been well blended

Add the liqueur once everything else has been well blended

Pour and chill.

Silky smooth and ready to chill

Silky smooth and ready to chill

Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse (Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 c sugar and 1 more TB for the egg whites
  • 1/4 c orange liqueur
  • 6 oz chopped semi-sweet dark chocolate (I used the same chips I used in the blender mousse)
  • 1/4 c strong black coffee
  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
  • pinch of salt (for the egg whites)

My assembly of goods:

Not unlike the blender mousse recipe

Not unlike the blender mousse recipe

Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until the ribbon stage:

Very thick and sticky!

Very thick and sticky!

Add the orange liqueur and beat til combined:

The egg  yolks will thin out slightly after adding the liqueur

The egg yolks will thin out slightly after adding the liqueur

Set up your ice bath next to your pot of almost simmering water:

You don't want the bowl to be able to touch the water or the chocolate will burn

You don’t want the bowl to be able to touch the water or the eggs will cook

Over a pan of almost simmering water, beat the egg yolks until thick and hot to the touch.  Remove to an ice water bath and continue to beat til mixture is cool and approximates the consistency of mayonnaise.  Set aside.

When cooled, the yolk/sugar mixture will be once again thick.

When cooled, the yolk/sugar mixture will be once again thick.

In another bowl, heat the chocolate and coffee over the same pot of almost simmering water.  Stir until chocolate is melted.

The chocolate will appear to be seizing, but keep stirring and it will become smooth

The chocolate will appear to be seizing, but keep stirring and it will become smooth

Remove chocolate from heat and whisk the butter in a tablespoon at a time, until you have a smooth sauce.

Add the next piece of butter when the first one is almost completely incorporated into the chocolate

Add the next piece of butter when the first one is almost completely incorporated into the chocolate

Stir the chocolate into the cooled egg yolks and set aside.

Blend well

Blend well

Whip the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form.  Sprinkle on the sugar and continue beating til stiff peaks form.  Gently stir about 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten the base.

Lighten the base first!

Lighten the base first!

Fold the remaining whites quickly, then pour into a serving bowl or individual ramekins.  Chill for 2 hours.

Work quickly yet gently

Work quickly yet gently

Here’s how the taste test went down:

JC (left); blender (right)

JC (left); blender (right)

Kurt said the lighter mousse looked better, but the real difference came when Ken began scooping.  As he scooped up some of the JC mousse, you could see how it was light and delicate; however, when he tried scooping out the blender mousse, the spoon got stuck!  It was literally the consistency of chilled ganache (aka truffles)!

At this point Kurt said “I know which one is the Julia mousse now!  I’m only take a little of the ganache stuff.”  After tasting both, he said, “Well, it’s a pretty great ganache, you could make it into truffles.”  It’s true; the blender mousse has a a deep semi-sweet chocolate flavor, but its texture reminds you of truffles, not mousse.  Ken didn’t even try the blender mousse, but loved the JC one.

I’m going to see if the blender mousse gets softer if I leave it out to come to room temperature.  Otherwise, I may be making a batch of truffles…

Ganache or mousse?

Ganache or mousse?

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1 Comment

Filed under Desserts, Family, Food

One response to “Taste and Convenience Test: High-end vs. Low-end Chocolate Mousse

  1. Kimberly W

    I’m pretty sure I could eat ganache straight as if it were mousse. Yum!

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