Valentine's Day: Indulge Your Sweetie!

Here is a mouthwatering chocolate mousse for expressing your affection on Valentine’s Day for your nears and dears, or for your own chocolate enjoyment.

What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day?  Cupid with his bow and arrow?  Hearts and flowers?  No, no, no. Chocolate, of course!  Is there a more romantic dessert than chocolate mousse?  Simple, yet elegant.  The quintessence of velvety richness.  Topped perhaps with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings.  However, it can certainly stand on its own. 

Many identify Julia Child’s chocolate mousse as the classic version and true, it has a unique mouthfeel that is airy, almost foamy.  However, it uses eggs that are never cooked and, even though there is only a tiny chance of salmonella, I prefer a safer version that is rich and velvety.

There are just a few ingredients so the quality of the chocolate plays an important role in the outcome. Also, I suggest a bittersweet or semisweet chocolate containing between 50 and 60% cacao.  A higher percentage will produce a drier result.  Be sure to serve the mousse in pretty dessert goblets. And ladies, if you have ever doubted that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, you’ve never served him chocolate mousse.

Ingredients (8 servings)
2 cups heavy cream
4 yolks from large eggs
3 T superfine sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted

1. In a small saucepan heat 2/3 cup cream just until it starts to steam.
2. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl.
3. Slowly add half of the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture until thoroughly combined.
4. Add the warm egg-cream back into the hot cream in the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 165 on a digital thermometer.
5. Off heat, stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate.
6. Chill thoroughly.
7. Whip remaining 1 1/3 cups cream in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.
8. Stir about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate custard and then gently fold in the remainder until no streaks appear.  Serve chilled.

(adapted from a recipe by Rebecca Franklin)
Photographer Bill Brady

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