Once in a valiant effort to drown my sorrows I ate about a half gallon of Butter Pecan ice cream direct from the carton. I was sitting on the floor of my parents bedroom watching television from a distance that would have likely gotten me yelled at had my mother been home. I figured that was better than eating ice cream in her bed. I may have been depressed, but I still had scruples. Eating ice cream in moments of misery is such a time honored tradition that it's become cliche. Can you even count the chick flicks that feature a woman spurned and her trusty pint and spoon? It's a lot and frankly, it's time to move on. Don't look at me that way. You know me better than that right? Do I seem like the kind of person that would offer up fat-free yogurt to someone in pain? Hell no. I'm the kind of person who would bring you homemade chocolate mousse. That's right, this is no health sermon, this is a straight up upgrade. Step away from the the freezer burned pint of whatever the heck is. Dip your spoon into the silky, creamy, dark chocolately goodness. Whether or not you let a fruit sully your indulgence is entirely up to you.
SERIOUS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Desperate times call for desperate measures. This is technically a 2/3 recipe. The original is in
The Essence of Chocolate which you probably need to own anyway. The original full recipe says it serves six. I served 8 with the 2/3 recipe because it's that rich. But I will NOT tell anyone if you eat the whole thing yourself. Nor will I judge.
2 4 oz bars of chocolate - I used 1 bittersweet and 1 semisweet. Modify this based on how dark you like your chocolate
3 egg yolks
2/3 C whole milk
2 T sugar
1/2 C heavy cream
Start by chopping up your chocolate, nice and fine. Put it in a large bowl and put a strainer on top (you'll need this later) and put it near the stove, where you can grab it when things get going later. Put the milk in a pan and heat it up to a simmer. Once it's simmering, dissolve 1 Tablespoon of sugar into it. While you're waiting for it to heat up you can whisk or stir your egg yolks so you have a nice eggy mess. You're going to need to combine the warm milk with the cold eggs which is a nasty business, but it must be done. Take the milk/sugar off the heat and very slowly pour it into the eggs. You will need to continuously stir the eggs while doing this, because you don't want them to get too hot too fast. That will result in a scrambled egg mousse which would be beyond gross. Also, realize that if you're pouring the milk and stirring the eggs you officially have NO hands left to hold the bowl. So don't use a flimsy one. Use a nice solid well anchored one. Once you've combined them, hopefully without any egg scrambling you'll need to pour them BACK into the saucepan and then put that back on the stove. Stir constantly with that spatula or wooden spoon until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should take 6-10 minutes, but if it's really thickening up fast, use your judgement. You don't want it to get little curds in it. If it does that it's heating up too fast, you want it to be one consistency throughout (and yes, I've had it mess up and get curds and yes it really was salvageable and once I did remake just the egg/milk part). Take your pan off the heat and pour the custard into the strainer that's above the chocolate. The general idea is that the lumps won't go through and the custard will begin melting your chocolate. Once you've gotten the custard through, stir up your chocolate until it's all melted and is the same color and consistency throughout. Set this aside and get out your heavy cream. I prefer to whip cream with a hand mixer, my stand mixer can't quite reach the bottom it's own bowl to whip small amounts and my arm gets tired if I do it by hand. Whip the cream until it is soft and fluffy and can hold a soft peak. Once the cream is whipped add the other tablespoon of sugar and whip it in. Don't whip it too much or you'll make butter. The chocolate mixture needs to be room temperature so it doesn't melt all your beautiful whipped cream, so make sure before you start to fold in the whipped cream. You can fold in the cream gently until the chocolate is a uniform color. This can be put in the fridge for cooling and setting in one giant bowl if you're a)an accomplished scooper and server or b)you plan on eating it all yourself direct from the bowl. If you're sharing it (I know, it's a crazy idea) you might like to portion it into bowls or ramekins before refrigerating. It should take a few hours to set up (the original recipe said four but mine was fine before that).