Saturday, January 19, 2013

What's your best memory of chocolate? And..Julia's Chocolate Mousse

I asked myself last night...What's your best chocolate memory? There are quite a few. The chocolate barfi Papa got for Diwali, the 1 rupee coin I got to buy 2 Cadbury's eclairs...oooh how I enjoyed those. Best even when Anna, my grand aunt, would bring us Chocolate pastries from Mongini's. Those were the best. The pastries were really expensive for us, but Anna would bring them to us on special occasions like her birthday, her retirement..right all those occasions we should have brought cake to her. LOL..anyways we loved her for that. Who remembers Mongini's here? It was the only good bakery that existed when I was growing up. I do recall by the time I was in college Birdy's by Taj was very much in fashion ;).

Of course, Vibes has surprised me with chocolate and desserts as well. But, there is one very distinct memory of chocolate which happened in my 10th grade. 10th grade in India is very intense. The finals, often referred to as the Board Examinations, are tough and decide your career or your specialization. Coaching begins in Summer vacation, even before schools reopen..yeah it's a different system. Summer vacation begins April and ends June which also marks the new school year. Basically your academic year for 10th grade begins in April and you study until the March of next about intense.

I remember I had this system of waking up at 5.15AM and a very well chalked out time table with breaks and eating times with most of it spent at my study table, from September for exams in March. Every student appearing for the Board exams does. We had stories like how we didn't need an alarm as months passed by. Imagine waking up at the same time for 6-7 months straight with the pressure to crack the BOARD exams...your brain is a little alarm clock...your body obeys it for best or for worse :)..yes, it is as intense as it sounds. Oh and even after the exams were done, I recall waking up tensed and frenzied at 5.30AM or a nightmare of forgetting everything during the exam...My sister, Madhu, would calm me down and remind me that it's all over...It was frustrating then..but I am sure everyone's loving just reading this, perhaps even re-living those days. The hard work, the dedication and then reaping the's awesome!! I have a adrenaline rush right now just writing about it..LOL

"Chocolate story JC"..right right..chocolate story, got carried away there. A very usual November morning. Wake up at 5.15AM. Dark outside and of course quite cold. Say my prayers, put on a sweater, make a cup of tea, drink some water and get ready to settle at my study table. Switch on the table lamp, only to find a nice cool bar of 'Perk' with a lovely red greeting card patiently waiting for me to be opened. It was my birthday..nooo I had not forgotten, but I knew everyone will wake up as usual and wish me. This indeed was a very very unexpected surprise. Madhu, woke up even before me and set it on my study table. That is the best chocolate surprise I have ever received and I will never forget it..Love you sis!! <3..I am going to treat you to something chocolatey good the next time we meet ^__^

I thought of that 'Perk' as a perk or a reward for being loyal to much needed hard work. Trust me, it comes as a surprise to everyone today that I have come so far, because I was not a straight A student at all. I am an average student who struggled every step of the way and am proud of it. So, yeah my folks were delighted to find I was quite determined..a perk definitely perked me up..figure of speech lesson, anyone? BTW Perk is Cadbury's version of Nestle's KitKat.

Before I forget..I adorned my, I mean David Lebovitz' Julia's Chocolate Mousse with Trader Joe's chocolate crisps..pheww..quite a mouthful. My friend, Aarti introduced me to these. In fact, the idea of making a mousse also came from her. She got these very cute little cups of chocolate mousse for a dinner, very neat and elegant. Frankly, I loved the mousse she made better than Julia's..Sorry Julia and David offense, it's just a preference, not just texture-wise, but also, the fact that it was eggless. I am a little worried when it comes to raw eggs and kids (that are not even mine :P)..Have her recipe now and will share it soon :)

Ahem..this time Trader Joe's should seriously plan on giving Aarti some cut for the surged sales of these chocolate crisps. I like to munch on them as desserts just on their own. 6 of them for only 110 cal..what more can I ask for..only more crisps..:D

Almost all bloggers have blogged about David Lebovitz' Julia Child's Perfect Chocolate Mousse. I haven't done anything new here, except for omitting Rum and butter. The yolks are cooked, however, the egg whites are raw, so grab the freshest eggs possible for this recipe. Vibes really found fresh ones..Safeway was out and they were just getting ready to re-stock with their newest shipment...awesomeeee.

Chocolate Mousse
adapted from David Lebovitz' Julia Child's Perfect Chocolate Mousse
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used 60% cacao)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dark-brewed coffee (You could brew coffee or use 6 tablespoons of hot water with 2 1/2 tablespoons of instant coffee)
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter (if using) and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat and keep aside.

In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise.

Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice cubes/water and beat until cool and thick (below is my set-up..I was not up for more manual egg beating..phewww)

The thickness of the egg yolks should be ribbon like

Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks or vice-versa.

In the meantime chill a separate bowl and beater in the freezer for the egg whites. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff. Add the vanilla and give it one last whip.

Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving cups/bowls, and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, until firm. I got 8 mini dessert bowls with this recipe.

So while I finish these up and you begin your arm workout, care to share your best chocolate memory? And..Bon App├ętit! :)

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