One of my absolute favorite desserts to make is chocolate mousse. I have a recipe I consider pretty much foolproof. So this is one of my go to desserts to serve. This weekend I decided to tweak the recipe and try to make a variation that was chocolate and cherry flavored. The cherry flavor came from juice from canned sour cherries that I reduced on the stove. My intention was to use the cherry juice to also make a syrup to put on top of chocolate mousse. But after spending an hour reducing the juice and it not thickening properly, I decide to change tactics and use the reduced cherry juice in the mousse itself.
The final product was pretty awesome. The cherry flavor came through very strongly. The only issue was some of sugar syrup separated from the mousse and settle in the bottom on the bowl. This likely happened because I didn’t get the chocolate egg yolk mixture folded into the sugar egg white mixture quickly enough to cook the egg white mixture without separating. This is the same thing that happens to lemon meringue pie if the lemon filling isn’t hot enough when you add the meringue on top to bake.
Here is the modified recipe
- 1/4 cup reduced sour cherry juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 squares (3 oz) semisweet chocolate
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup Whipping cream
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- In a saucepan or double boiler, combine cherry juice and sugar, cook slowing until sugar dissolves
- Add chocolate and cook slowly until chocolate melts completely. Do this on low heat and stir constantly, to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Stir melted chocolate into egg yolks. I always make sure my eggs sit out before I use them in this way. I also “temper” the eggs because nothing is nastier than having the eggs “curdle” (you get chocolate scrambled eggs)
- Place mixture in saucepan or double boiler and bring to gentle boil stirring constantly. Cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Allow to cool to lukewarm stirring occasionally
- In bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
- Add 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold in chocolate mixture into egg whites.
- Beat cream until soft peaks form and then gently fold cream into chocolate and egg white mixture
- Spoon into dessert dishes and chill 2 to 24 hours
- Top with whipped cream if you like
A couple other things to note with this recipe in terms of techniques.
- Separating eggs. I do this “old school” using the shell to move the yolk back and forth dropping the white into a bowl. For me making sure the white is pure (doesn’t accidentally get yolk in it) is more important than getting every last bit of white separated from the yolk. Some people employ a special purpose tool for separating their whites. Some do it with their hands but my grandmother taught me the shell method and I’m pretty comfortable with it.
- Stiff versus soft peaks. Use the Googles to find yourself pictures if you don’t know the difference. Soft peaks don’t stand up as tall or curl down as sharply as stiff peaks. Stiff peaks will stand almost straight up if you the beaters straight up and out of the mixture. There is a stage that is in between soft and stiff peaks which is referred to as firm peaks but most recipes I’ve encountered call for soft or stiff peaks.