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.
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