Our small flock of hens are laying well – it’s not unusual to pick-up 6 eggs or more a day, meaning 3 1/2 dozen a week! Eggs make a nice hostess gift for hen-less friends, and although we like 2 eggs for breakfast once in while, and omelettes are ones of the most versatile and nutritious fast foods I know, that’s a lot of eggs for the 2 of us.
So, at the moment, egg-based dishes are what I bring to pot-luck dinners – a double bonus as both deviled eggs and creme caramel (which takes twice as many eggs as a regular baked custard) are very popular.
So is chocolate mousse.
It actually has been a very long time since I’ve made simple chocolate mousse. It’s been so long, in fact, that I almost forgot how utterly simple, fast, and delicious chocolate mousse is. Only uncooked eggs, chocolate, a little bit of sugar, a shot of liquor for flavoring and a tablespoon of butter to tie it together — basic ingredients I always have on hands. No cream, no enormous quantity of butter ( I save that much butter for my tart crust).
The mousse tastes amazingly rich. Because they are so few ingredients, it’s critical that they’d be of the best quality: eggs should be from fully pastured hens raised in very sanitary conditions and very fresh (I use 1 day-old eggs); and a very good semi-sweet chocolate is necessary (the kind you’d want to eat – forget about “baking” chocolate)
It’s easy to adjust (and remember) the proportions: for a generous helping, count 1 large egg and 1 to 1 1/4 ounce of chocolate per person — although I don’t recommend you make it for any less than 2 servings – it’s hard to beat any fewer egg whites.
As the mousse needs to set in the fridge for several hours (in a pinch the freezer will do for a couple of hours), make it a day ahead.
So let’s enjoy our eggs while they are super fresh and in season. The annual hen-molting is not that far off — which reminds me I need to start stockpiling the eggs, and stop bringing deviled eggs to parties. After all, eggs keep for a loooong time. But when they aren’t fresh, I don’t make that simple mousse.
Classic Chocolate Mousse
4 generous or 6 smaller Servings
125 g of dark semi-sweet or bitter-sweet dark chocolate (4.5 oz)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 to 2 tablespoon homemade cherry cordial (or other flavoring)
4 large impeccably fresh fresh eggs, separated (from pastured hens)
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon sugar, preferably turbinado
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or over a bain-marie (double boiler). Whisking well, add the cordial.
Beat the egg whites with the salt until very firm (remember to use a scrupulously clean bowl and to ensure no yolk wanders in your whites).
Beat the yolks with the sugar until creamy looking (paler in color and the sugar fully dissolved). You do not need to clean the beaters from the egg white to beat the yolks (but not the other way around). Add the still-warm chocolate mixture, whisking continuously.
With a spatula fold in the egg whites until no white streaks shows. Don’t over do it.
Divide between 4 individual containers (6 if you really want) and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until the following day.