Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Chocolate Mousse

To those of you with a vague understanding of scientific principles, this will probably make sense.

For those in the opposite camp (and I put myself firmly in this bracket), this will probably seem a little bit like sorcery.

If this technique had been demonstrated by an enterprising 16th century chef, he would probably have been burnt at the stake for dancing with the devil and engaging in nefarious culinary exploits.

This is a chocolate mousse made entirely out of chocolate and water.

There is nothing else involved. No binders, no emulsifiers, no eggs, no eye of newt or bollock of bat. Nada. Zilch.

Chocolate and water.

It is one of the few ‘experiments’ I’ve attempted from Hervé This’ book Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavour (Columbia University Press, 2006).

Despite references to ‘metabotropic glutamate’ and ‘sugar chains forming molecular skeletons to carry carboxylic acid’ much of the book remains within the grasp of the average home cook and offers some valuable material to those looking to improve their cooking, or at least seeking a more thorough understanding of what goes on when frying pan meets egg.

When I read about the possibility of making a chocolate mousse within seconds and only two elements, I had to try it.

The lack of any extra ingredients in this chocolate mousse enables the purity of the chocolate to really shine, important if you’re working with high quality produce or single estate chocolate, for example.

The flavours aren’t dulled and there is an intensity of flavour I’ve not experienced before. It also opens up all sorts of possibilities for adding additional flavours, if you so wanted.

Perhaps a drop of chilli or a little vanilla extract.

So, how do you go about making this magic mousse?

Melt equal parts (by weight) of chocolate and water together in a double boiler. Remove the bowl, place it in some iced water and, using a good old fashioned balloon whisk, start beating the liquid.

You should notice a change in the texture almost immediately.

Keep whisking and then remove the bowl from the water to stop it from cooling too much and solidifying again.

Stop whisking once the ‘mousse’ is at the required consistency. If you go too far, don’t worry – just re-melt the chocolate and keep trying until you get the texture you want.

For my ‘cauliflower cheese’ I kept going until I had a slightly grainy texture but for a dessert you probably want something a little lighter.

Food sorcery at its finest, and most simple. Now all I have to do is avoid visiting Salem.

I’m on Twitter…


Hungry Gal said...

You weren't kidding when you said you were going to make an eggless chocolate mousse... but surely, there had to be more than just two ingredients! What kind of food sorcery is this? I may have to try this over the weekend as we do have some fine chocolate left over from the other day.

Micah Moves said...

wow.. I can't wait to try this! Is a specific kind of chocolate suggested? Milk? Dark?

chocolatecup said...

oh wowo!!! that looks nom!:)

3di15 said...

I've tried that once!! I have a slightly different recipe but it was amazing anyway!! And so Yummy!! :D

Christopher Pepe said...

I ran right to the kitchen to make this. Try as I might I couldn't get anything but smooth silky chocolate. What kind of chocolate did you use? I'm excited to try it again.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

This is fantastic. I just posted a link to it on Facebook so that others can see it too.

I'm definitely trying this (and will probably blog it too)!

Unknown said...

2 ingredients? Chocolate mousse? Edible? I'm in!

Angry Brit said...

I'm stacking logs, dude. Eggless chocolate mousse! Such insanity. I have to say that this is a "molecular gastronomy" method with which I could get on board. I actually want to try this.

Can I just say that I really applaud your efforts to stretch your culinary boundaries? Nose to Tail. Molecular gastronomy. I love reading about your [mis]adventures in this world, because it's a place that I will probably never visit. So, thank you for that.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Lovely! I have the Roccoco Real Chocolate cookbook & she makes this sort of ganache using earl grey tea. I think you could do a killer mocha mousse using espresso!

The Ample Cook said...

This shouldn't work! Usually when melting chocolate, if you let water spill over into it, it seizes. Amazing.

stephchows said...

This is totally fascinating!! I can't wait to try it :)

Ash said...

This is amazing!!! So amazing it can't be right! I need to try this!!

Just Cook It said...

Hungry Gal - No, I wasn't kidding! Give it a go and let me know how it works out, I'd be really interested to know

Micah moves - I used dark chocolate for this - 75% solids - but I can't see any reason why it wouldn't work with milk. I'll try and let you know

Chocolatecup - thanks, it tasted pretty good too!

Elisabetta - Thank goodness there is someone who has tried this, I'm not sure everyone else beleives me!

Christopher - I used dark chocolate for this. How long did you mix it for? It does have to get fairly cold before it starts to emulsify

Scott - Awesome, thanks. Let me know how it goes, looking forward to reading about it

Thanks Toni!

Angry brit - Thank you so much. It's nice to hear such kind words

Foodycat - Amazing idea. Love it. Will HAVE to try it out.

Ample Cook - I know, it defies culinary lore. Bizarre isn't it?

Stephchows - Give it a go, it is so amazing the first time

Ash - Good luck, look forward to hearing how you get on

Helen said...

That is just totally bizarre! I had absolutely no idea that could happen. I'll try it definitely.

Creative Classroom Core said...

This sounds amazing! How clever!

Tenina said...

Have to try this, I have just done an awesome egg less choc mousse, with just couverture, olive oil and cream, but this really takes food minimalism to a new low!!

Just Cook It said...

finsmom - Thank you

Tenina - Sounds intriguing. Do you have a link?

rob fox said...

it just wouldn't work for me - I just got a thick chocolate cream.

will give it another go - perhaps the ice water wasn't cold enough

Bridget The Internet Chef said...

What a great idea!!! I love it.

Thank you for posting this beautiful recipe, I liked it so much I’ve included it in my Top funkiest Chocolate recipes on the Web >>

Congratulations!! and looking forward to many more fab recipes.


Joanna said...

The picture is enough to persuade me to have a go at this. I definitely don't fall into the scientific category though, so fingers crossed!

Unknown said...

Just a quick guide- When the chocolate starts to lighten, you’re pretty much done. (It lightens because enough air has been incorporated- exactly the same reason as why green washing up liquid produces white foam)

For me, it became too grainy when served cold, but when served at room temperature had a smooth texture. Has anybody else found this?

Unknown said...

i have been warned not to bring water any closer to chocolates because they are enemies..but you have made them an ideal could you

Unknown said...

one of my favourite things about lazy days off is using the internet to find random things like this blog. my other - and probably MORE - favourite things is finding hair-brained recipes that i have all the ingredients for. Hot diggety it worked!!!! I am now going to pimp myself out as a performance food-artist at parties. thanks for the career break