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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Comfort Food was Never so Sweet!


Posted: March 24, 2008
by: Chris Card Fuller

If I had to think of one dessert that has to be the best-loved treat in
France, it would be chocolate mousse – or, as we call it here, mousse au
chocolat.

Mousse au chocolat was the first dish my au pair employer decided that
even a kitchen-challenged American student might be able to handle. The
beauty of this chocolate addict’s dab of nirvana is that it really can be
easy to prepare.

Strangely enough, I never make the dessert when I’m stateside, but when I
get back to France,  I seek out the familiar Nestle’s Dessert Chocolat
Noir bar which you can find in any supermarket.  The recipe for mousse au
chocolat has always been (and hopefully will remain forever) on its
outside wrapper. Here are the five easy steps – which even I can follow,
while reading in French.

The ingredients are simple.  200 grams of bittersweet chocolate (luckily,
the entire chocolate bar is exactly 200 grams – so I don’t have to worry
about converting grams to ounces. (and I only sometimes steal a square of
chocolate before it gets into the pot).
6 Eggs and a dash of salt.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  Then, let the melted chocolate sit
for a moment while you separate the yolks from the whites of the six eggs.
Whip the egg whites with a dash of salt until the egg whites look like
Mont Blanc in Switzerland.

Take the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the mixed egg yolks,
blending the chocolate in bit, by bit.  Then mix more energetically.

Now comes the tricky part.  Incorporate 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg
yolk and melted chocolate mixture, using a spatula to fold in the egg
whites.  Then add the remaining 2/3 of egg whites, continuing to fold them
in without losing the ‘airiness’.

Mousse needs at least three hours refrigeration time which can be a good
thing - you can always put those three hours to good use while getting the
rest of the meal prepared.  Meanwhile, your dessert is sitting pretty.

Whenever I make this dessert, I think of Michele who taught me this
simple, so very French dessert. By now, her son for whom I babysat is
grown up and certainly has kids of his own.  Michele’s home cooking was
always good, never fancy, and always satisfying.
She taught me one recipe that’s stood the test of time.

This is the kind of treat you share with friends who you don’t need to
impress. Instead, it’s the smile at the end of the meal and the way they
scrape the last bit of chocolate from their bowls that will leave you
impressed.

When you’re in France, you can pick up bars of Nestle Dessert Chocolat
Noir in almost any regular grocery store (Monoprix or Champion or Franprix
for example).   Looking for mousse au chocolat on a restaurant menu?  You’re
most likely to find this favorite at your local brasserie or café.  (And,
yes, even at the Ritz Hotel room service!)

Chris Card Fuller

www.parislogue.com

Mousse


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