Recently it was Cute W’s birthday, and instead of cake, I made him a family favorite: chocolate mousse. We all love this mousse. Cute W brought some leftover mousse with him to work the next day, and while he was eating (and probably moaning, just a little, with pleasure), one of his co-workers apparently asked something like, “Isn’t mousse just like pudding?” He arrived home and reported this to the rest of us as we ate our mousse, and all of us girls reacted about how you’d think someone would react when they first learned that some people have to hike miles to a water source instead of turning on a faucet: both shocked that others have to live like that, and grateful that we do not. There was a brief moment of silence, filled remorse for the empty lives of these people who could possibly think that our chocolate mousse is similar to a mere chocolate pudding.
“Well,” I began, because there was no avoiding the appropriate response. “You should bring some of the mousse into work to share with them.”
“NO! Mom, NO!” M wailed. “We don’t have to send them any! There’s not that much left! We can just give them the recipe!”
I looked around the table, and it was clear that the others agreed. It’s not like these people were dying of thirst. They could live without mousse. And we certainly didn’t have much to spare. Maybe offering up the recipe is sufficient kindness to our friends and acquaintances.
So, here’s the recipe. It is intense and rich and not remotely like pudding. It’s also the reason why I can’t eat chocolate mousse at restaurants, because their mousses always seem pallid in comparison to this homemade stuff.
It’s originally from McCall’s Cooking School Cookbook, which also has a number of other tremendously kick-butt recipes. Actually, we simplify the recipe a bit, because I don’t bother making fancy-pants chocolate curls to decorate the mousse. Sure, it looks pretty, but for us it’s sort of gilding the lily. We also don’t have a double boiler, so we just melt the butter and chocolate in a smaller pot that’s set into a large, deep pan filled with water. It’s better if the mousse is refrigerated overnight before you eat it. And, okay, I add a little bit of powdered sugar to our whipped cream.
So, if you’ve looked at the recipe,you’ll notice that it’s got a lot of raw eggs. If that sounds gross, it’s delicious. If the thought of germs scares you too much, sorry. We like to live dangerously. It’s just how we roll.
And if you’re keeping track, this recipe is just eggs, chocolate, butter, brandy, and heavy cream. Which makes it extra funny that every time he eats in Cute W remarks, “I love this mousse. It’s so light.”