Welcome to mousse - a light and fluffy French delight. This elegant treat can be made the easy way or the hard way and both come with pros and cons. That's the main reason why I've put off creating the chocolaty food. Some recipes call for instant pudding mix and frozen whipped topping - but this version is too simple and the flavor is nondescript. Other creators turn to using raw eggs and cooking the sweet mixture a bit. But I always get visions of me getting some sort of terrible stomach woe, so I stayed clear of this method. After some research, I created my own chocolate mousse with some failproof touches.
On Tuesday, when I concocted my mousse, it took me back in time. I joined the man in my life on his new 27-foot sailboat in Benicia north of San Francisco. We stayed at a romantic getaway. He was on a mission to save our bittersweet relationship. Our upstairs charming suite boasted a large window view of the bay. The hotel room with European flair included a spacious bathroom with a jacuzzi. I was in love with the environment, but something was missing.
Early in the evening, he surprised me with a room service treat: Dutch chocolate mousse. I savored each bite of the creamy mousse while the bubble bath I poured into the tub overflowed on the floor. Both events were unforgettable but the trip flopped. It wasn't romantic like when we visited Tahoe's South Shore, frolicking on beaches and staying in no-name motel off Highway 50. I didn't need chocolate to smile.
This week I decided to revisit the mousse of yesteryear. When I made the whipped cream - I finally got my very first mixer - it was amazing to watch the liquid morph into a creamy, airy texture. Once I added the other ingredients, I sensed my dessert was a keeper.
Double Chocolate Mousse
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounce package of instant chocolate fudge pudding
1 cup organic 2 percent reduced fat milk
1 cup organic half-and-half
1/2 to 3/4 cup 60 percent cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (for garnish)
In a mixing bowl pour 1 cup whipping cream. Whip about five minutes till fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla. (It helps to put bowl and beaters in the freezer first for about 20 minutes.) Set aside. In another bowl, mix pudding with milk and half and half. Add pudding mixture to whipped cream. Mix till smooth and a light chocolate. Pour mousse into small ramekins or parfait glasses. Garnish with chocolate chips. Also, adding the chips in the mousse works, too. (Optional: Add a dollop of whipped cream and a mint leaf.) Serves 6-8.
I see clearly now that the boat was a stepping stone of us growing apart. I realized that, while my mate was bit by the boat bug, me - not so much. I was busy writing articles on natural remedies for seasickness and how to take Rover on a cruise. But I do have fond images of that quaint hotel with the decadent mousse. In no time on a warm, summer day in my cabin, I created a dish that took me to chocolate mousse heaven. I had a relationship with double chocolate mousse. It was sweet. And it worked.
Motto: Favorite foods can evoke good images of sight, touch, and taste. Making memories into reality with a twist can be great and often is perfect.
- Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include "The Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. "The Healing Powers of Coffee" and "Animal Attraction: A Collection of Tales & Tails" will be released this summer. Her website is www.calorey.com.