If you're really worried about uncooked eggs in your desserts, this may not be the mousse for you. It's got both yolks and whites, and neither of them ever see the inside of a saucepan or a candy thermometer. I think using whole eggs in mousses gives them a much richer flavor (otherwise they're just flavored whipped cream, aren't they?), and this one is an excellent example of that theory: velvety smooth but airy, the kind of mousse that goes in fluffy and then melts into a chocolaty puddle of goodness on your tongue. *Shivers*
I could be a food porn writer, no?
No, maybe not.
But anyways! About dem egg whites. You can always buy the pasteurized egg whites that come in those weird little cartons...though unless you're running a restaurant and need your whites in bulk, I don't see why you would. Let's move on to the chocolate before I go on any fresh food rants, mmtay?
Ganache seems to me to be a pastry chef's best friend. All on its own, it can be turned into a glossy glaze or a fluffy spread, just by mixing it in different ways. Thin it out with more cream, it becomes chocolate sauce. Whip that, it becomes chocolate whipped cream. Add milk, it's hot chocolate. Add more chocolate, you've got a hell of a frosting. Toss in a whole bunch of egg whites and some starch, poof, soufflé. And more cream plus whites and yolks? A very seductive chocolate mousse.
The best part about this mousse and its ganache base? *Glances around* You don't even have to use very good chocolate. I used Nestle semisweet chips in the ganache. I'm sure foodies everywhere would raise their eyebrows and say, well, Billie, why on Earth didn't you use Obscura Chocolata's 97% Supahh Dark Chocolate Luxury Bar With Cocoa Nibs? Because those bars are a) ridiculously expensive, b) ridiculously overhyped, and c) they taste kinda bad. I know, I'm a horrible person for not drooling all over Valor's 82% or whatever (consequently, Valor has some kickass semisweet chocolates), but I don't think that eating chocolate should make your face pucker up like you're eating a lemon. Eating chocolate should make you want to cram your face with it and have that same I-don't-care-if-there's-melted-chocolate-all-over-my-chin mentality as you did when you were eight. That's why I'm content to use pretty low cocoa percentage baking chocolate (um, cocoa tastes nasty on its own. Think about that!) and even (gasp!) milk chocolate in my baking.
Ahem. As I was saying, you don't have to use a super dark or super pricey for the ganache here, and you actually shouldn't; it would be a waste of money and good eating chocolate. Just make sure that the brand you're using is a good, reliable one. I like Nestle and Lindt for baking purposes, and despise Hershey's. But whatever floats your boat.
You can kick up the flavor of ordinary chocolate in your ganache with one of my very favorite baking tricks; add a tablespoon of clear fruit jam for every cup of cream. It seems like something really little, but it really adds something; you can't even tell there's fruit in the finished ganache, but the chocolate flavor is much more complex and vibrant. It will take this mousse from good to downright heavenly. My dad said this was the best mousse he's ever had, and I trust him: especially when it comes to food, my father does not just toss out compliments like that.
Your Baking Soundtrack for Chocolate Mousse:
Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, My Chemical Romance
Say what you want, I've been a little nuts about MCR since seventh grade, and it doesn't look like I'll be getting over the phase any time soon. I'm just glad I'm done with the black nail polish and emo bangs. Phew.
Adapted from The Secrets of Baking, by Sherry Yard
1/2 cup ganache (see below for recipe)
Tiny pinch of cream of tartar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Melt the ganache over a double boiler. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed.
When frothy, add the cream of tartar.
When they reach the soft peak stage, add the sugar slowly and continue beating to stiff peaks.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the same bowl of the electric mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Place in the refrigerator.
Whisk the yolks in a small bowl. Add them to the ganache and quickly stir to combine.
Add a third of the egg whites to the ganache and yolk mixture and combine quickly with a wire whisk.
Fold in half of the remaining whites with a rubber spatula.
Fold in the remaining whites.
Repeat this process of adding by thirds with the whipped cream.
Pour the mousse into serving glasses and refrigerate.
If you wish to pipe the mousse, refrigerate it until set before filling the piping bag.
Chill for at least one hour before serving.
1/2 cup cream
4 oz semisweet chocolate
1/2 tablespoon clear fruit jam
Place the broken up chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
Bring the cream and fruit jam to a boil over medium heat.
Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and allow to sit for one minute.
Stir gently until the ganache is smooth and uniform.