Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chocolate Mousse Cake and Kumquat Confit

There are various ways to make a chocolate mousse, and two versions I usually stick to. Both come from my LCB Desserts book (Le Cordon Bleu Dessert Techniques by Laurent Duchene and Bridget Jones, 2002 edition). In one version is an airy mousse that instead of egg whites and butter uses a sugar syrup and whipped cream. For this chocolate mousse the creamy-beaten egg yolks are tempered with hot sugar syrup, before adding melted chocolate, and finally fluffing it with whipped cream. I used this chocolate mousse to make a Chocolate Dirt Dessert (recipe).

The version I use here, is the one where you whisk egg yolks and sugar to a pale cream, to which you add a mixture of butter and chocolate melted au bain marie, and - once smooth and silky - you gently fold in stiff-peaked egg whites. 

In all cases, you can chose your own level of sweet to bitter by using a lower or higher percentage of pure cacao chocolate. I prefer bitter dark, and use 70% - 86%.

You can make the cake as sweet or dark as you like, add flavor like orange peel, cointreau, grated ginger, or even cayenne pepper as you go.

This basic recipe is for a dark, bitter chocolate mousse cake.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

250 gr 85% chocolate*
100 gr 70% chocolate*
150 gr unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated
125 gr raw cane sugar (I prefer to use this over granulated sugar in this cake)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
  • preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
  • Melt butter and chocolate together au bain marie (hot water bath - you can melt it in the microwave if you prefer). 
  • In a deep bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy. 
  • In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 
  • Add the vanilla extract and salt to the egg yolks and sugar, and mix well
  • Fold the butter-chocolate mixture (once cooled but still liquid) into the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Mix in well into a uniform, silky "paste". 
  • now fold in the stiff egg whites, starting with a spoonful, adding the next spoonful when the first is incorporated. Continue to fold in all egg white, working swift but careful not to "whisk" or "beat" (that would take the air out of the egg whites). Make sure you have no white streaks, and all is mixed in well
  • pour into your prepared cake pan, and put in the preheated oven
  • bake for 30 minutes, then test by inserting a metal skewer down the center. If the needle comes out only slightly moist, it is done. You can add another 5 minutes if you like the cake drier. If the skewer comes out too wet, give it 5 minutes more. Basically, bake between 30-45 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after 30 minutes until the needle comes out only slightly moist to dry.
  • Let cool completely before taking out of the cake pan. Garnish with edible flower petals and serve with kumquat confit (recipe below).
*I've made this cake using 85% only, and it is for the diehard bitter-dark chocolate lovers. Adding 70% tones it down a bit. You could use 70% only, and still have that delicious dark-bitter chocolate taste.

Kumquat Confit

1 cup cleaned kumquat
1 cup sugar
tbsp water

To clean the kumquat: quarter and scrape off the pits. Blanch three times as follows: place the kumquat quarters in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Immediately take off the heat, drain, and start over: cold water, boil, drain. This is to remove all impurities from the skin, and reduce the bitterness. It also softens the skins. After your 3-time blanching, add a cup of sugar and 1-2 tbsp water and bring to a boil. Now, let simmer for up to 30 minutes. Cool down in the syrup and keep until ready to use. If you don't use all: it keeps for weeks in an airtight container (under syrup).

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