Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Fifteen: Cocolat, by Alice Medrich

Recipe: Tricolor Mousse


Cocolat was my first baking cookbook, given to me by my husband on my birthday, at least 15 years ago. This is the book that started it all for me on my culinary adventures in baking. Thank you dear, it has been a fun adventure.

I made this for an Oscar party and chose to make it in individual portion sizes as opposed to one large dessert. It is always more fun with single servings, and this way everyone gets their own little package.

This was a fairly simple recipe, though it took me most of the morning since I wanted to include it in my blog (as if I did not have enough to do already) and dessert I found is harder to shoot then a meal.
 
Getting the mousse out of the molds was a bit of a challenge. When making the larger size, after heating the mold, you should be able to just slip it right off by pulling up on the dessert ring. The smaller size, the mousse is not heavy enough to do so. I had to push up from the bottom and man-handle it somewhat to get it to the plate. Of course, after sleeping on it (the idea, not the dessert!) I came up with an easier way. Place the mousse (the bottom is lined with a small disc of chocolate) on a shot glass and pull the dessert ring down. Then I would be able to slip a small spatula or fork underneath and transfer it to the plate. Next time!!
    
And the Oscar goes to.....

Success meter (1-3): 3






































Tricolor Mousse
Serves 16-18
(or, two small desserts, each to serve 8-9)

Ingredients:
1 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
Chocolate Marquise (recipe to follow)
Mocha Mousse (recipe to follow)
White Chocolate Mouse (recipe to follow)

Special Equipment:
Piece of parchment or waxed paper with an 8-inch circle traced on it
8 x 3-inch round springform pan or cheesecake pan with removable bottom, or an 8-inch dessert ring plus an 8-inch corrugated cake circle (if you plan to make two small desserts, use two 6 x 3-inch round pans or dessert rings, two 6-inch corrugated cake circles, and two 6-inch circles traced on parchment or waxed paper)
Propane torch (optional)

1.       If you are using dessert ring(s), place on a flat plate or tray. If not, have ready the springform or cheesecake pan. Turn parchment(s) with the traced circle(s) upside down on a baking sheet 9you should still see the tracing through the paper) and tape the edges to the baking sheet to keep them from curling later.
2.       Melt chocolate gently in water bath or microwave at medium (50%) about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Spread chocolate evenly in traced circles(s). Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, until hardened. When hard, remove tape. Turn paper upside down and peel gently away from chocolate. Place chocolate disk(s) in bottom of each pan or ring; return to refrigerator until needed. (It is ok if disk breaks or cracks; just put pieces in place. This thin chocolate disk will facilitate serving by keeping mousse from sticking to bottom of pan.)
3.       Make the Chocolate Marquise. Turn immediately into pan on top of chocolate disk. If you are making two smaller desserts put half of the Marquise in each pan and do the same in steps 4s and 5. Level Marquise with a spatula; wipe inside sides of pan clean about top of Marquise. The pan will be less than half-full. Refrigerate.
4.       Make the Mocha Mousse. Turn immediately into pan and spread on top of Marquise, leaving about ¾ inch of space at the top of the pan. (If there is excess mousse, nibble.) Wipe inside sides of pan clean about top of mousse. Refrigerate.
5.       Make the White Chocolate Mousse. Turn immediately into pan on top of mocha. Use a metal spatula to level top of mousse perfectly even with the rim of pan. Refrigerate dessert 4-6 hours, or until set, before unmolding. Dessert may be completed to this point and refrigerated in the pan, covered, up to 2 days in advance. Or, freeze for up to 2 months.
6.       To Unmold: Before unmolding dessert ring(s), tilt and slide cake circles under each dessert. Warm the sides of ring briefly with a hot, wet, wrung-out towel, or a propane torch and slip it off of dessert by pulling up with both hands. The sides of a cheesecake pan must be pulled down, so you must place the pan on top of a can or other sturdy support before warming and sliding the sides down. If you have used a springform pan, warm as described, then release side of pan. The springform will not release as cleanly as the dessert ring or cheesecake pan, so you may need to smooth sides of dessert with a metal spatula.
7.       Decorate dessert with a cluster of chocolate fans or chocolate cigarettes.



Chocolate Marquise
Makes about 4 cups

10 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into bits
4 oz (1 stick) sweet butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp. powdered (no freeze-dried) instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tsp water
4 large eggs, separated
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
2 Tbl. sugar

1.       Melt chocolate and butter together in a medium bowl placed in a pan of barely simmering water. Or, melt in a microwave on medium (50%) for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Stir from time to time to hasten melting. When chocolate is melted and smooth, whisk in dissolved coffee powder and egg yolks. Remove from heat and set aside.
2.       In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar, beating at high speed until stiff but not dry. Fold one-fourth of egg whites into mixture until completely incorporated. Scrape mousse immediately into prepared mold. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set before unmolding.


Mocha Mousse
Makes about 4 cups

9 oz milk chocolate, cut into very small pieces (use a high quality brand, such as Lindt)
5 tsp. powdered instant coffee (not freeze-dried), dissolved in ¼ cup plus 1 Tbl. water.
1 ½ cups heavy cream

1.       Place chocolate and coffee in a medium-size heatproof bowl. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a wide skillet. Turn the heat off and wait 30 seconds. Set bowl of chocolate in pan of hot water. Stir chocolate mixture constantly until melted and smooth. Or, melt in a microwave on low (30%) for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Stir until smooth and completely melted. (Milk chocolate is very fragile and burns easily. Do not turn the heat on again under the skillet unless absolutely necessary.) Remove chocolate from heat and let cool until a small dab on your upper lip feels slightly cool, about 85°.
2.       Whip cream until soft peaks form – not to stiff. Fold carefully into cooled milk chocolate mixture; the mousse should seem very soft. Scrape mousse immediately into mold. Mousse sets quickly and should not be spread or manipulated too much after it is completed. Cover and refrigerate.


White Chocolate Mousse
Makes about 4 cups

9 oz. white chocolate, cut into very small pieces (use a high quality brand, such as Lindt)
1 ½ cups heavy cream

1.       Place Chocolate and ¼ cup plus 1 Tbl. water in a medium-size heatproof bowl. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a wide skillet. Turn the heat off and wait 30 seconds. Set bowl of chocolate in pan of hot water. Stir white chocolate mixture constantly until melted and smooth. Or, melt in a microwave on low (30%) for about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and completely melted. (White chocolate is very fragile and burns easily. Do not turn the heat on again under the skillet unless absolutely necessary.)Let cool away from heat until a small dab on your upper lip feels slightly cool, about 85°.
2.       Whip the cream until soft peaks form – not too stiff. Carefully fold cream into cooled white chocolate mixture; the mousse will seem very soft. Scrape mousse immediately into mold. (Mousse sets quickly and should not be spread or manipulated too much after it is completed.) Cover and refrigerate.
Kirsch or Liqueur Variation: Substitute 3 Tbl. Kirsch-wasser or other liqueur for 3 Tbl. of the water. Melt the chocolate with the kirsch and remaining 2 Tbl. water.

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