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"Bittersweet" mousses tried

RuthWells's picture

In honor of hubby's birthday last weekend, I attempted stacked mousses in ring molds, using mousse recipes from Medrich's "Bittersweet."  First, let me say I loooooooooove the ring molds.  They were Christmas gifts and this is the first time I've used them.  Now I can't wait to think of more ways to play with my new molds (suggestions welcome, of course)!


But on to the recipe reviews.  The two I tried were "Albert's Mousse" (uses water instead of cream) and her white chocolate mousse.  For the dark mousse I used Lindt's Excellent 70% bittersweet and immediately ran into some kinks.  Medrich's technique is to add the recipe's liquid (in this case, water) to the chocolate while melting, and my chocolate immediately seized and stayed seized.  The base recipe is written for a 55-65% chocolate and her notes on subbing with 70% were to increase the liquid and add butter.  Did that, still seized.  Added a little bit more water than she called for -- still seized.  Added a few tablespoons of heavy cream (thinking the added fat might help) -- still seized.  I finally said "sr**w it" and heated the eggs (which took FOOOREVER using her method; uses a skillet <?> for the bain marie) and whipped them.  After one last attempt at unseizing the chocolate by beating and warming, I added a few blops of whipped egg to lighten the chocolate, and lo, the chocolate did (of course) unseize.  Chocolate and eggs were folded together, mousse was apportioned and chilled, and there was much rejoicing.  But for chocolate novices, not having some note in the recipe about potential seizing is a real oversight.


So on to the white chocolate mousse, which is just white chocolate and whipped cream folded together.  Easy peasy, of course, but I've got to find a source for better white chocolate.  I used Ghiradelli (which is all that's available to me retail), and it was ....... fine........ but not inspiring.  Maybe a little cloyingly sweet, and certainly without nuance of any kind.  Anyhoo, the white mousse got layered on top of the dark mousse and I left the kitchen a shambles and crawled into bed.


The most interesting thing happened the next night, upon serving the mousses.  They unmolded beautifully with help from a hot, damp rag, and looked lovely with a cluster of raspberries on top.  And then, ever so sloooooooooooowly, each stack began to shrink as the denser white chocolate mousse bullied the more fragile dark mousse into submission.  The dark mousse ended up sort of squooshed out into a doughnut shape on the bottom while the white mousse remained defiantly intact cylinders.  Too funny, and certainly none of my diners (kids & hubby) cared a whit about the presentation.  Butbutbut -- Medrich uses the dark mousse as the bottom layer in her (3-layered) stacks of mousse.  Why did mine squoosh and hers didn't?!  The mousse chilled in the molds for about 20 hours, which should be sufficient........


The dark mousse certainly lived up to its promise in terms of flavor.  She bills her "water" mousse as allowing the purity of the chocolate to come to the fore without flavor interference from cream, and even with the few Tbs of cream that I did add in desperation, this was the most intensely chocolate mousse I've ever tasted.  However, it was a disappointment structurally.  I'm curious whether anyone else has tried her mousse recipes yet.  


The birthday boy was pleased, however, so the foray has been deemed a success!  ; )


 


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

soccermom's picture

(post #29547, reply #1 of 13)

I've been flipping through my copy for a month wondering what to start with. The dark mousse with water had been near the top of the list, but I admire your ambition for trying the structure.


Re: the seizing, did you pour the water over the chocolate before heating or during? If the latter, I think that's the problem; they have to heat up together.


As for the squishing, could it be related to the type of chocolate or even the amount of cream you added? I can't remember how large the recipe is; would that amount of cream have skewed the proportions?


 


 


 


 

 

 

RuthWells's picture

(post #29547, reply #2 of 13)

Good questions, Canuck.  Initially I heated the chocolate with some of the water; when I realized that Medrich called for more liquid than I had used, the chocolate was already melted.  So maybe that played a part?


It hadn't occurred to me that the amount of "extra" liquid I added would have been enough to tip the scales on the squishing -- it amounted to maybe an additional 2.5 Tbs overall, which is really not much....  I'll have to double check the book to confirm what was originally called for; I also scaled the recipe down, so the original measurements are all a jumble in my memory.


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Glenys's picture

(post #29547, reply #3 of 13)

I always melt my chocolate with liquid, coffee actually, almost as a lubricant- coffee then add the chocolate. 70° needs more liquid than the higher fat content chocolates, as you've noted. If you'd started with the liquid you'd have no problems.

RuthWells's picture

(post #29547, reply #4 of 13)

So you're saying first heat the liquid, then add the chopped chocolate?


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Glenys's picture

(post #29547, reply #5 of 13)

I heat them together but the liquid takes on the heat first, which kinda eases the chocolate into melting. Great if you're not there to stir immediately or for a moment.

foodie's picture

(post #29547, reply #6 of 13)

made albert's mousse several times using valrhona, water and coffee - no problems with melting, i dont think it was 70%. it was plenty rich, i used a small demitasse to serve. 

RuthWells's picture

(post #29547, reply #7 of 13)

I think the cocoa % is key to the difficulties I had.  Do you know which Valrhona you used?


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #29547, reply #8 of 13)

The weird thing is taht the higher percentage chocolate should have made the mousse firmer, not softer. Strange. I'll bet the extra liquid is what did it.

RuthWells's picture

(post #29547, reply #9 of 13)

I'm clearly going to have to try this again (oh damn! more mousse to eat! rats!).


; )


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #29547, reply #10 of 13)

LOL!

AnnL's picture

(post #29547, reply #11 of 13)

I can tell that will be a real hardship for you.  ;-)


 


AnnL
Transitions Farm
Gardening, cooking, and riding Central Mass.

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

RuthWells's picture

(post #29547, reply #12 of 13)

Yeah, it's killing me!

Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

foodie's picture

(post #29547, reply #13 of 13)

can't remember which valrhonas i used (i had quite a stash), bought them at trader joes.