Test Kitchen : A tale of two Mousses

Mousses are rich delicious melt in the mouth confections. I naively set out to find the perfect mousse recipe for a chocolate and strawberry mousse. A quick google search showed mousses of two types, with gelatin (See Le Tartine Gourmandes example)and mousses with eggs.

Traditionally mousses, more specifically chocolate mousses are made with egg yolks. The egg yolks impart a dense and creamy quality to the mousse. Fruit mousses on the other hand have gelatin in addition to the egg yolks.

I also tested a chocolate mousse recipe with just gelatin and no egg yolks, Have to say it lacked the smoothness of an egg yolk mousse. But for vegans and those who donot plain like egg yolks it is a compromise of sorts.

Ive included below two recipes,- both by Jacques Pepin in The Art of Cooking Vol 1- one for a chocolate mousse and another for a red currant mousse which i adapted to make a strawberry mousse. Im still looking for that perfect recipe for fruit puree mousses.

Chocolate Gourmand(mousse) by Jacques Pepin
1 cup heavy cream
6 oz bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate
1/3 cup milk
2 egg yolks
2 tsp dark rum
1 egg white
2 tb granulated sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp confectioners sugar

Candied Violets

In a mixing bowl, whip the 1 cup cream until lightly firm( donot overbeat) Meanwhile place the 6 oz chocolate with the 1/3 cup milk in a saucepan and place over medium heat until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is warm and smooth. Add the 2 egg yolks to the chocolate with the 2 tsp rum and mix. The chocolate will thicken lightly. In another bowl, beat the egg white until firm, then add the 2tb granulated sugar and keep beating until firm and smooth.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg white and stir with a whisk just enough to incorporate. Add the whipped cream and fold in gently just until mixed.

Pour the mixture into an attractive serving bowl and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour. When the top starts to harden cover with plastic so the chocolate doesnt pick up tastes . Referrigerate until firm.

Make whipped cream from the topping ingredients. Decorate with candied violets.

Currant Filling ( Currant Mousse) by Jacques Pepin

11/2 lb fresh red currants ( about 2 cups puree)
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold water
2 envelopes gelatin
4 tb water
3 egg whites
2 tb sugar

Puree the currants. Place the 4 egg yolks in a mixer fitted with a whisk beater. Put the 1/2 cup sugar with the 1/4 cup cold water in a saucepan and stir just enough to dissolve the sugar. Place on the stove, bring to a boil, and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes,, until the mixture will spin a thread( about 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Pour the hot syrup into the yolks slowly while beating at a low speed. Increase to high and continue beating on medium to high for 10 minutes.

The mixture should be thick and creamy. Meanwhile combine the 2 envelopes of gelatin with the 4 tb of cold water and let set until the gelatin absorbs the water. Melt the softened gelatin over low heat and when the gelatin is well melted add it to the 2 cups of red currant puree , mixing it well with a whisk. Now combine that currant gelatin puree with the egg yolk sugar mixture , mixing it with a whisk.

Beat the 3 egg whites until stiff, add the 2 tb of sugar, and beat again for about 30 seconds to incorporate the sugar into the whites. Spoon about one fourth to one third of the egg whites into the red currant mixture and mix with a whisk. Using a rubber spatula gently fold the rest of the egg whites into the red currant puree.