Friday, January 28, 2011

Comfort food

Today I made the painful discovery that, when you're buying a house, having the place checked over by a professional isn't just a formality: it may well be your cue to run for the hills. On receiving said professional advice, I took the only sensible option, and decided not to continue with my purchase.

The disappointment resulting from this situation made me very keen to reach for the junk food. I did manage to resist the very strong urge to get a pizza for dinner, instead picking up some salad and a rotisserie chicken from Pak N Save on my way home, but I still felt that I deserved a treat: preferably something rich, chocolaty and sinful.

I knew there was a recipe for chocolate mousse that might fit the bill, and when I remembered the chocolate liqueur mousse variation (p201), I knew I was onto a winner.

The first step is to melt some chocolate, then add your chosen liqueur. The suggestions were brandy, chocolate liqueur or coffee liqueur. I didn't fancy brandy and had neither of the others in the cupboard, so I dug out some Cointreau instead. When I added it to the melted chocolate, it had the unexpected effect of making it clump up into a partially-set lump again. I had to put it back on the heat and add more Cointreau to make it liquid again.

When the chocolate/liqueur combination was ready, I stirred in some egg yolks, beat the mixture till thick, then folded it through some whipped cream. Already it was looking delicious, but I wasn't quite finished. I beat the egg whites, adding a little sugar until they went glossy. Then I added half the egg white mixture to the mousse and began folding it in.

This procedure was interrupted twice: firstly by my clumsy dropping of the egg white bowl directly into the mousse, and secondly by a heavily accented telemarketer who thankfully hung up after I (holding the phone in one hand and a gooey bowl in the other) insisted I wasn't "Mrs Vaarnez".

Once the moussey mess was wiped up, I folded in the first half of the egg whites into the mousse, then the second half. Finally I had a bowl of light, fluffy chocolate mousse. But of course it still had to set - I poured it into three dessert glasses (though I halved the recipe, it still made plenty) and put them in the fridge to set.

After an hour or so chilling in the fridge, I checked the mousses and found they were ready, so I took one out to taste. It was incredibly light, and beautifully smooth. Interestingly, it wasn't all that chocolaty - the liqueur was the main flavour, against a subtly chocolate background. As such, it was very tasty, but when I make the plain (non-liqueur) version, will it really have enough flavour? I think I'll up the chocolate for that one.

I came home this evening feeling that I deserved a decadent treat, and chocolate liqueur mousse has served that purpose admirably. As an added bonus, I still have two more servings to last me through the weekend!


  1. Sorry your house-buying fell through - it must be so disappointing!

    Fingers crossed there's a great deal just round the corner x

  2. Thanks - it's a bummer alright, but it would be a bigger bummer to buy the place and find it falling to bits five years down the track. So I'm pretty lucky really!
    There's something out there for me, I'm sure - I just have to find it!


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