I used to watch Jacques Pépin on PBS all the time when I was younger. My favorite of his shows had to be Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home with Julia Child. Those two cracked me up when they were cooking together. It was kind of an odd dynamic that just worked. At the time, I never imagined I'd ever make any of his recipes. As a teenager they just seemed so complicated and way beyond my skills. Turns out I've come a long way since then because this recipe didn't seem too bad at all and I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity to enter.
From Jacques Pépin’s Essential Pépin
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons cognac (or another liqueur like Grand Marnier)
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and combine the rest of the sugar with the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Place the bowl in a skillet of hot tap water (or use a double boiler), and whisk the mixture for 3 minutes, or until it is fluffy, smooth, and at least doubled in volume.
Beat the reserved sugar with the cream in a large chilled bowl for a few minutes, or until soft peaks form; do not overwhip. Transfer about 3/4 cup of the whipped cream to another bowl to use as a decoration, and refrigerate.
Using a rubber spatula, combine the melted chocolate with the yolk mixture and the cognac. If the mixture starts to seize or break down, immediately stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream to smooth out the mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until incorporated. Transfer the mousse to a decorative bowl, cover, and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
At serving time, whip the reserved 3/4 cup whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Spoon the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and decorate the top of the mousse with the cream, or spoon dollops of the cream onto the top of the mousse. Serve.
|Hot tap water in a skillet to cook the yolks|
|After three minutes|
|My best attempt at folding the egg, chocolate, and whipped cream together without deflating|
Here are the small changes I made to the recipe:
- I only made half of the recipe based on what I had on hand and who was going to be around to share with me.
- I used Kahlua instead of cognac. It's what I had in the house and coffee is a classic pairing with chocolate.
- The dark chocolate bar I bought was only the equivalent of about 3.5 ounces. I made up the balance of the 5 ounces I needed with good quality semi sweet chocolate chips.
I feel like I cheated a little bit by only making half of the recipe. I didn't have anyone to share this delicacy with and didn't figure I needed to have six (rather generous) servings of chocolate mousse around the house this week. I don't think I had any problems relating from cutting it in half. If you're feeding a smaller group, probably up to four, you can definitely get away with half. This stuff is delicious but super rich, even to me who usually can't get enough of sweets in any form. All in all, this recipe was a lot easier to pull together than I anticipated considering it's a French classic from a classic French chef.
Have you ever taken on a recipe that you thought might be intimidating?