The Musing: Chocolate Mousse. Two words that speak to just about everybody, across all ethnic groups, dietary proclivities, age groups and religious beliefs. No one complains about having to eat chocolate mousse. It’s practically a unifier. Serve chocolate mousse, and red and blue cross over to make purple.
The Recipe: So I jump back in after months of not blogging (never had a good track record for blogging consistency, anyway) with these two little words. Why? Because they need no explanation. But also because blogger Miso for Breakfast recently asked about my recipe for the Chocolate Dream Mousse I published in the New Now and Zen Epicure 10 years ago, and I thought it was indeed a great subject.
I’ve been making chocolate mousse since I first encountered it as a child, fully expecting a moose-shaped chocolate (like an Easter bunny). Oddly, or maybe not much so, I have more memories of my experiments with chocolate mousse than any other food. There was the Christmas in college when I didn’t go home (3000 miles away), and a friend and I did our best to stave off loneliness by sharing Christmas dinner together. The only detail of our meal that I recall was the ultra-rich, butter-laden chocolate mousse I made using a recipe from Julia Child. For years, I approached each dish of chocolate mousse with a bit of trepidation, recalling the time in Japan when I entertained friends for dinner, and served chocolate mousse for dessert. Drinking, laughing, and savoring the first few bites of my mousse, I suddenly bit into a piece of garlic — the strangest taste combination ever. My face flushed over and I lost track of the conversation as I spent the rest of the evening wondering if any of my guests had had the same unsavory experience but were too Japanese to say anything. I’ve since learned to clean up better between cooking savory dishes and dessert.
Over the thirty or so years I’ve been experimenting with vegan chocolate mousse, I’ve come up with perhaps a dozen or more versions. The first ones inevitably were tofu-based, and were more or less glorified puddings. In fact, the Chocolate Dream Mousse contains tofu as well, although it is lightened up by a copious amount of cashew creme. It’s a great recipe, and since then, I’ve improved on it several times, but I really think I have the ultimate recipe now — which is why I call it the Ultimate Chocolate Mousse. My quest to further perfect it is over – everyone I serve it to dreads seeing the bottom of their dish (and not just vegans). I’m not going to pretend that it’s a healthy recipe, however – perhaps a bit better for you than one made with unsalted butter, but it’s still basically made with high-fat ingredients. Ever-so rich yet light and creamy, and just airy enough, it’s so good that it has helped me overcome my fear of garlic-flavored chocolate. I’m going to share this recipe today, as well as the one from my cookbook 10 years ago.
Ultimate Chocolate Mousse
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tsp. Vanilla
5 ounces dark chocolate
3/4 – 1 cup coconut milk solids from chilled coconut milk (refrigerate can of coconut milk for at least 24 hours, then drain water from can)
2 – 3 Tbs. powdered sugar (optional)
1 Tbs. Orange liqueur (optional)