I was trying my best to pretend Christophe was not around the house....avoiding his mischievous glance on my way to the kitchen, grazing my hand on the shiny cover and yet preventing myself from leafing through the pages filled with gorgeous photographs and fun recipes. One night though, I found myself alone in the house and tempted by the promises of silky chocolate mousse, I gave in. I have always been pretty forward with my beaus (ask B. and he will tell you that the first thing I told you was "You're sexy" instead of "You're sweet" when we met - he'd tell the truth), and when there is chocolate, well I guess you don't need a visual...except Christophe was not going to get the best of me this time and leave me wondering again if he was the man for me. After making his Chocolate-Caramel Mousse, I think we might go steady for a while.
I was really intrigued by Christophe's mousse, particularly the ingredients and since there was just the two of us in the kitchen that evening, it was all quiet and calm and I thought we would get along better....no distraction meant that we could dance to the sound of bubbling caramel and not have a care in the world for a short while. The mousse I usually make is rich and yet nothing extravagant: melt chocolate, add butter, add egg yolks, whip egg whites with sugar, add whipped cream, fold and eat. But this is Christophe and we are on a date...His mousse is lighter due to his use of 2% milk, less egg, milk chocolate to add a touch of sweetness and very little butter. It is almost liquid when you pour it into a cup, dish or other but sets up to a beautiful silky cloud of paradise. I see some of you ready to come tell me about the danger of eating raw eggs. Stop right there. I will continue to eat the way and foods I was raised upon, including vats of egg filled mousse if I can (if it works for 97 year-old Grandpa Rene, I'll take my chance) I respect your opinion, really I do, but do you really know what tomorrow holds? Yeah...neither do I....except maybe "more mousse!" :)
The caramel part of the recipe? Well, that was Christophe little secret move...You have to earn your right to the mousse as you wait to let it set but oh my! that little bit of creamy caramel layer is just a great contrast in texture and flavor to the bittersweet chocolate layer. B, jealous of my little evening with Christophe, made the (bad) joke that we had invited Pierre Herme as the chaperon. Indeed, I layered the mousse and caramel cream on the diagonal, like I did with my adaptation of his Sensation Satine. I made enough caramel cream for only two servings but mousse for four people so I used empty and washed egg shells to pour it into and topped all with some crushed toffee. I ended up polishing both little jars which left B. with the eggs without caramel...sorry, bad pastry jokes are against the company's policies(!).
Chocolate-Caramel Mousse: Serves 4
For the Caramel Cream Layer:
40 gr sugar
100 ml water
150 ml heavy cream at room temperature
1 tsp powdered gelatin
1 Tb water
pinch of salt
In a heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to 180C (358F) or to a dark amber caramel if you do not have a thermometer, over medium high heat. Be careful, if it turns too dark it will be bitter. Lower the heat and add the cream and stir until fully incorporated. Do not worry if it hisses at you and starts bubbling like crazy, it calms down after a few seconds. Remove from the heat. Pour the gelatin over the tablespoon of water and let it bloom for a couple of minutes. Stir it into the caramel and stir to dissolve. Pour into your selected dishes in the manner described here if you wish, or just let it be your bottom layer. Let set for 2 hours.
For the Dark Chocolate Mousse Layer:
1/2 cup (125ml) 2% milk
100 gr bittersweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
25 gr milk chocolate (same)
1 egg yolk
15 gr butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Bring the milk to a boil in heavy saucepan. Add the chocolate, let stand a couple of minutes. Stir gently until the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated. The mixture should be at 45C (128F) when you add the egg yolk, if it is colder it might seize. Whisk in the butter. Add the whipped cream and fold delicately. Pour into your dishes and tilt them in the manner described here if you wish, or just let it be your top layer. Let set for 2 hours.
Top with crushed toffee if desired before serving.