This is Italian chocolate mousse. I was curious as to what made it Italian chocolate mousse as opposed to french chocolate mousse or any other mousse and here is what I discovered. There is no difference. Marcella adds two tablespoons of rum to her version, and I switched that for two tablespoons of orange liquor, but the two main flavors that come through are chocolate followed by espresso. It may be because my husband made the espresso and he knows what he’s doing with his Italian coffee that this has such a rich taste, or because I used valrhona bittersweet chocolate, a very high quality, french chocolate.
We thought the flavor was surprisingly intense and delicious and more complex than ordinary chocolate mousse, which I have always thought of as a “just okay” dessert, but not one I would be quick to order. In fact, when I thought of chocolate mousse, I would think of dessert served at a hotel convention luncheon. I would eat it, but never remember it.
I selected chocolate mousse as our September bonus because I wanted something sweet to celebrate my birthday, and I wanted to see if Marcella could change my mind about chocolate mousse. She did not disappoint me.
I fretted over one thing and that is the use of raw eggs. My vendor at the farmer’s market sold me free range records and told me not to worry. Even still, I was going to purchase pasteurized eggs, but then my market didn’t have them. I’ve read a few conflicting reports on the use of raw eggs, and the chances of getting salmonella are much lower in free range eggs, but there is a 5% chance that an egg could be contaminated with salmonella.
Eggs, chocolate cream and a whisk and you are on your way to building the foundation for chocolate mousse. The chocolate is melted, cooled, flavored and added to beaten egg yolks and sugar. Whipped cream is folded in followed by stiffened egg whites. It is suggested to chill over night, so this is perfect for a do ahead dessert. I, found though, that it was ready enough to eat within hours.
If you are following Cooking Italy, you will notice that since many of the recipes come from northern Italy, there is a lot of crossover with french recipes. We say that zabaglione and sabayon. Can you imagine how delicious life would be living near the border of France and Italy?
- 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used Valrhona bittersweet), cooled
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup strong espresso coffee, cooled
- 2 tablespoons rum (I used orange liquor)
- mixing bowl in freezer (for whipped cream)
- ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
- extra whipped cream and shaved chocolate for garnish
- Melt chocolate in double boiler. Cool.
- Beat egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow.
- Mix together egg yolks mixture with chocolate adding espresso and rum or liquor.
- Beat whipping cream in cold bowl and fold in.
- Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, gently fold in.
- Put in individual serving dishes.
- When ready to serve, garnish with whipped cream, and/or shaved chocolate.
Breast Cancer and a New Kind of Birthday Present:
As I was hitting publish I received a call from my mother from the doctor’s office, awaiting a breast cancer biopsy. Sadly, she received a letter in the mail on Saturday informing her of an abnormal test result. No phone call, and nothing to do but panic until Monday. She couldn’t see the breast specialist until Tuesday. They gave her all the options and “scary what if’s” and gave her the choice of today or two weeks from today to get her biopsy. We prayed, and fretted, and prayed some more. Today, the two specialists walked into the office where she waited for an hour to get her test. They said, “the three sweetest words, “you don’t need a biopsy. We both agree that your mammogram is okay, and we will schedule another mammogram in six months”
This is a great birthday present, and we believe something happened due to the power of prayer. But, also, ladies, can I implore you to schedule your mammogram (she hadn’t had one in four years), and to infuse your diet with fresh produce and high anti-oxidants and only to occasionally treat yourself to sweet treats like this chocolate mousse.
My birthday wish is for a cure for breast cancer and for increased strides in preventative care, so that you can enjoy your next birthday.