New Mexico, here I come…
My long-awaited vacation is fast approaching, and I am becoming more intoxicated and consumed by the thought of spending some time at my parents’ home by the second.
When I was in high school I was a violinist. I played in every orchestra I could get my little hands into, and loved it. Every conductor brought something different to the experience, be it bad or good. One of the memorably good ones happened to be a guest conductor from New York, who had come to conduct our all-state symphony. He stood up on the podium for the first time and the orchestra fell silent: we expected a fast-talking, no frill approach to his method. Instead we got a long sigh, a deep breath and instructions to relax a minute. He told us that he was relieved and happy to be conducting in New Mexico for a change. This set off a wave of raised eyebrows throughout the sections. Did he remember where he got to live?! He was happier in Albuquerque than in New York City?! He perceived our disbelief immediately and clarified. He said that Manhattan was a fantastic, exciting city that was exploding with opportunities. Being in New Mexico though? Being in New Mexico inspired deep breaths, and long sighs of relief. It gave you room to relax, and let you see all the way to the horizon. He couldn’t get enough of that feeling.
Now I’m itching for it too.
Julia’s Mousse Au Chocolat
- 6 ounces good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark rum or orange liqueur
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Over a pot of simmering water, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee until smooth.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside.
Over the same pot of simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks, 2/3 cup of sugar, rum (or orange liqueur) and water for about three minutes or until the mixture becomes more or less the consistency of mayonnaise. -I did this by hand, but regretted it almost immediately… if you have a handheld mixer, use it-
Place the bowl with the whisked egg yolks into the bowl of ice-water and continue whisking until it is cool and thick. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
In a large bowl, beat (the handheld mixer comes in handy here too) the egg whites with the salt until frothy (Also, if the raw egg white part makes you uncomfortable you can beat them over the bowl of simmering water for a couple of minutes). Continue to beat until they begin to hold their shape and add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the vanilla. Beat until the mixture is thick and shiny, but doesn’t hold stiff peaks.
Fold one third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture to combine, then fold the chocolate, egg-white mixture back into the remaining egg whites until it is incorporated.
Transfer the mixture into whatever dishes you would like to serve the mousse in and place in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or until firm.
Serve by itself or with fresh whipped cream!