Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Safe Chocolate Mousse

Lately, I have been lax in my blogging. As I write this, there are only a couple of more days left before we leave for our annual trip to Turkey, and it is clear that I will not be able to post all those recipes that piled up in the past few months. I'll do the best I can before we leave; and after we come back, I hope to dedicate the rest of the summer to Our Patisserie so that it catches up with my Turkish blog.

These days, you may be tempted more with fruity and light desserts, but I offer you chocolate instead. I don't mind eating a good chocolate mousse any time of the year, and I hope that you feel the same way as well. This recipe (adapted from Alice Medrich's A Year in Chocolate) can be a good alternative for those of you who are concerned about consuming uncooked eggs.

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 2 tsp hot water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs plus 3 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Dissolve the coffee granules in 2 tsp hot water. Bring 1/2 c of cream to a simmer, add the chocolate pieces and the coffee mixture. Stir continuously until the mixture is smooth.

Whisk the eggs with 1 tbs of water and 2 tbs sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl in a skillet of close-to-simmering water and whisk continuously (to prevent the eggs from scrambling) until the eggs register 160F on an instant thermometer. Remove the bowl from the skillet, and beat the eggs on high speed until they reach the consistency of softly whipped cream. First lighten the chocolate mixture with one quarter of the eggs; then scrape the rest into the chocolate mixture and fold just until evenly incorporated. Divide into 6 ramekins. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Whip the remaining 1/2 c cream with 3 tsp sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Serve the mousse with dollops of whipped cream and chocolate curls.

A Striped Chocolate Cake

I made this cake over a month ago. The recipe comes from one of my older books: A Gourmet's Guide to Chocolate by Lesley Mackley ve Carole Handslip. It has been on my "to do" list for so many years that when I finally made it, I was almost relieved of a burden. As soon as I took some pictures, I shared a couple of them with my blogger friend Dilek of Dilek'ce, and to my surprise she sent back this picture and a few others of striped cakes she had made that week. It was a genuine surprise to me that after waiting years to make this cake, I made it on exactly the same week Dilek was experimenting with the same technique on the other side of the ocean. (Dilek blogs from Switzerland.) I experience this with other fellow bloggers, too. As outlandish as it may sound, I enjoy entertaining the idea that there is some kind of culinary telepathy between us.

Let me make a few notes before I get to the recipe: I deviated from the original by baking half of my usual roulade recipe. In retrospect, I thought that maybe it was not the right choice, because it turns a moist cake which does not cut very nicely when used vertically as in this cake. I baked the chocolate cake in a 9" pan rather than a 8" one. So my chocolate layers were thinner than the original. Finally, my roll ended up being smaller in diameter than the 9" chocolate cake, so there was some trimming to match sizes. I will give you the original recipe for the roulade, but you might end up doing some tailoring of your own at the end, as the recipe does not specify measurements for the jelly roll pan. As far as I know, there are no universal measurements for it. It seems that it is 7" on the shorter side (as the recipe says that the roulade is to be cut into 7-1" strips), but there is no indication what the other measurement should be. In spite of this minor ambiguity, this is a beautiful cake; and I enjoyed making it as much as eating it.

Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into tiny pieces
Chocolate Cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 oz melted chocolate
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs plus 1 yolk
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/2 c sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
To Decorate
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Sifted confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8" round pan and a jellyroll pan, line with parchment paper, grease again and dust with flour.

To prepare the ganache, bring the cream to boiling point; add the chocolate and stir until it completely melts. Leave to cool.

For the chocolate cake, whisk 1 egg, 3 yolks, sugar and vanilla. Whisk in chocolate; sift and fold in flour. Beat egg whites to the point of soft peaks. First lighten the chocolate mixture with some egg whites; then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Transfer it into the prepared 8" pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center feels just firm. Cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 425F. To prepare the roulade, beat eggs, yolk, sugar and vanilla until the mixture is thick in consistency and light in color. Fold in the flour. Pour into the jelly roll pan evenly. Bake for about 6 minutes until it is golden in color and looks set. Let stand for a minute, then turn onto parchment paper dredged with confectioners' sugar. Roll it with the paper and let cool. Beat the cooled ganache until light and fluffy. Cut the chocolate cake in half.

Unroll the roulade and spread with ganache. Cut into 1" wide strips. Roll up the strips joining them as seen in the pictures to form a large roll. Spread 1 cake layer with ganache. Put the roll on top. If the diameters do not match, trim as necessary.

Spread some ganache on the other chocolate layer and place it on the roll. Spread the remaining ganache on the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with chocolate curls and sifted confectioners' sugar.