From The Urban Cook, Mark Jensen, Murdoch Books, 2011.
I don’t often make desserts and when I do it frequently becomes obvious that I lack some of the techniques. It became obvious when I made this chocolate mousse. The solution is to make them more often, I suppose.
It’s a wonder that I even began this because to begin with I was unhappy with the name. I don’t feel that you can call a dessert ‘decadent’. Decadence is a state of moral decay wherein one becomes totally self-indulgent. A mousse is hardly a candidate for this though, if it is good enough, it could tempt a person to becoming self-indulgent. But it is unfair to cast the decadence onto the dessert rather than on the person eating it. During the Nazi era much art was declared decadent. Again, for me, while the art may portray decadence or perhaps encourage decadent behaviour, the art itself cannot be decadent.
My second reason for hesitation was that the recipe in the book had such heavy overprinting of art and dark screens that it was difficult to read easily. Not a good presentation for working from.
Anyway I had the ingredients on hand and felt like something chocolaty so went ahead.
The recipe called for chocolate and Cointreau (I used 110g chocolate and 1 tablespoon Cointreau) to be placed in a bowl over hot simmering water (not touching the water) to let it melt while stirring occasionally. The chocolate didn’t melt into a nice saucy texture but went thick and difficult to stir. I have been informed since that you should never let liquid get into chocolate when you are melting it or this happens. The recipe however definitely said to melt the chocolate with the Cointreau in it.
The chocolate was then taken off the heat and 45g butter stirred in. This did soften the glug somewhat but I also found at this stage that there were still a few small lumps of chocolate that had not fully melted before it thickened. I went ahead with the recipe as there was not much that could be done at this stage.
Three egg yolks were now stirred in while the whites were being beaten in the mixer until they were firm. These were then folded into the chocolate mix and this was spooned into glasses for serving later.
This was a most disappointing mousse. Part of the failure could be laid at my lack of technique but much of it is the failure of the recipe. Had my knowledge of technique been better I would not have mixed the Cointreau into the chocolate when melting it. But a recipe that does not give better instructions is more to blame in my view. The mousse was thick and needed the addition of lots of cream to make less heavy eating. The chocolate still tasted nicely chocolaty but that can only be attributed to the good chocolate that was used.
Ease of cooking: (not easy due to poor instructions) ✔