Magic Mousse

Magic mousse. Photos by Keri White

I did not believe that this recipe would work. It was invented by a French molecular gastronomist named Herve This.

I’ve seen it on multiple online sites recently — Melissa Clark of The New York Times touted it, while countless other food blogs and cyber-celeb chefs extolled the molecular gastronomy at play here.

I am not a precise, technique-heavy cook; I’m more of a throw it together and keep it simple gal, so the molecular gastronomy aspect did not tempt me. But I could not get this mousse out of my head, so I finally gave in to curiosity and made it last night. And it worked! I was staggered.

Yes, it took some whisking over a bowl of ice, but it was not overly laborious, did not require a thermometer or any particular equipment, and some versions even suggested the use of a hand mixer if whisking was too burdensome.

The mousse can be prepared ahead and refrigerated — I had the leftovers for dessert the following evening, and it was quite as good as it was when freshly made. Alternatively, it can be pulled together just before serving — volunteer for this job while someone else clears the table and does the dishes. By the time the kitchen is cleaned up, your delicious mousse will be ready to enjoy!

For this recipe to work, the chocolate must be dark, with a cacao percentage of at least 60%. This recipe will not work with white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate with a low cacao percentage.  I used Ghirardelli double chocolate chips, which are 60% cacao, and they worked like a charm.

If you choose chocolate with no dairy or milk solids, this is a spectacular pareve dessert.

Although this did not happen to mine, overmixing can result in a grainy texture; in such a case, online guides say you can simply remelt the chocolate/water mix and start over!

Magic Mousse
Serves 2 generously

If you wish to bring some additional flavors into the chocolate, you can reduce the amount of water by a tablespoon and add a tablespoon of your favorite liqueur such as Frangelico, Anisette, amaretto, triple sec, pear brandy, crème de menthe, et cetera.

1 cup dark chocolate chips, minimum 60% cacao
¾ cup water
3 cups ice

Melt the chocolate and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. While the chocolate melts, place the ice in a medium-sized bowl.

When the chocolate is melted and smooth, pour it into a small bowl that fits comfortably inside the ice-filled bowl, and begin whisking. Keep whisking for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens and takes on a pudding-like texture.

Pour it into bowls and serve immediately, either plain, topped with fresh whipped cream, candied nuts, a sprinkle of flaky salt, fruit, et cetera.


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