Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kids in the kitchen- atypical chocolate mousse

A few months ago, our serious foodie friend made some seriously good chocolate mousse, which was a huge hit with Big Bro. So when B suggested that we could make some mousse of our own, Big Bro was very excited.

Recently, B and I have been attempting restraint in the sweet treat department in a bid to reclaim our waistlines of yesteryear. This means I haven't made chocolate mousse for years, but my memories were of double boilers, careful combining of egg yolks to avoid splitting, and the crucial folding of the custard into the beaten egg whites to generate a smooth, frothy mix. I was not convinced that it would be a relaxing afternoon in the kitchen with a toddler.

Then I remembered a recipe from Nigella Express called "Instant Chocolate Mousse" which boasted "no yolks, no whites, no whisking, no waiting". It wasn't "real" chocolate mousse (hence my version of the name), but as far as Big Bro was concerned, it would be real enough, and more importantly, it was a forgiving enough recipe that he could be involved with most of the steps.

One novelty with this recipe was that there is a YouTube clip of Nigella's version, so in addition to reading the printed version, we watched Nigella effortlessly whip it up as part of "30 minute dinner party preparations". Big Bro found the book more captivating than the movie (isn't that always the case?); in particular, he wasn't swayed by Nigella's batting eyelids or whatever it is that people drool about that isn't her food.

As you'll see, we didn't quite stick to the original recipe, but adaptability is a useful skill when cooking with little people...

Nigella's Atypical Chocolate Mousse

150g marshmallows
250g dark chocolate
50g butter
60mL hot water
300mL double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
(all measured by Big Bro, who is starting to get the idea of scales)

Nigella had sped her recipe up with the use of mini marshmallows and chocolate buttons. I hadn't been able to find these when I was shopping at Aldi, so instead I had a good excuse to use my favourite kitchen implement, the mezzaluna, to chop in true Nigella style.

I melted the chocolate, marshmallows and butter together in the hot water over low heat. Big Bro was very disappointed that I wouldn't let him stir the pan on the stove, so I quickly thought up a "very important" job for him: arraying the (plastic) glasses to receive the mousse.

Being busy at the stove, I didn't notice that, having done the job as requested, Big Bro decided there was time to try a different version....

... and perhaps the whole recipe could be sped up if the glasses were just mixed with everything else?

Once the chocolate-marshmallow-butter mix was melted, I set it aside to cool and we got back to the toddler-accessible tasks.

The cream was whipped (mixer operated by Big Bro), and then I decided to see whether a toddler was up to the task of folding the cream into the melted ingredients. This proved to be a bit much, and we were faced with a thick, rich chocolate custard. So I crossed my fingers, and we re-whipped it in the mixer...

.... and like magic, we were back to fluffy mousse. Real chocolate mousse would never have given us this lifeline!

This was divided between 8 glasses, garnished with leftover marshmallows, and refrigerated. An hour later the mousse was set to a pleasant consistency; the next day it was probably a bit harder than we would have liked.

The verdict? Not "real" chocolate mousse, but still yummy. And toddlerproof!

In case you were wondering, while Nigella took 30 minutes for the mousse plus two other courses, we clocked in at an hour for just the mousse. But it was fun.


P said...

Yum, chocolate mousse. How does it taste with the marshmallows? I remember reading that recipe in a recent delicious magazine and not being convinced (I'm not a marshmallow person). It does look good though!

_vTg_ said...

Yikes, I am getting really behind in my delicious reading- didn't even realise it was there!!
My verdict: it's definitely not real chocolate mousse- it's not silky and melt-in-your-mouth, but rather like a giant chocolate, rich marshmallow. As I said, the texture got a bit too solid after overnight in the fridge... and perhaps because the chocolate wasn't super-dark, it was a bit too sweet for my taste. But all that being said, I had no problem polishing off my portion and would make it again, not for a situation where real chocolate mousse would be an option, but maybe for a picnic or for people who wouldn't want to eat raw egg.

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