Friday, September 23, 2005

Children’s Chocolate Mousse

132. Children's Chocolate Mousse (Feeding Babies and Small Children)

I made the mousse yesterday night whilst making the butternut and pasta soup. I'm not really crazy for chocolate mousse in general - I must admit I only made this because we had milk chocolate, because it's easy, because I wanted to procrastinate, and because I wanted to get my recipe count up.

This is the only dessert in the children's chapter - Nigella says "we don't go in for them". But, she says she sometimes makes this mousse when "friends and their children come round for lunch and what I'm providing for the adults is too bitter, too rich, too alcoholic or otherwise unappealing for the children".

It's very easy to make, which would be a bonus if you needed to whip this up in addition to a complicated lunch/dinner party menu. You do have to let it chill for 6-hours or overnight though, so you need to start in advance.

To start, melt 100gm milk chocolate with 1tbs golden syrup and 1.5 tbs water in a bowl suspended over a pan simmering water. Nigella says to use Valrhona chocolate - yeah right! I just used a block of Lindt milk chocolate, my favourite milk chocolate, and not totally exorbitantly priced. Once melted and moussed-up, I suspect that children wouldn't be able to tell the difference - and most adults too, actually.

Once it's smooth and melted, it will look like this...

Then mix in 2 egg yolks, one at a time. Whisk up 2 egg whites until stiff, then slowly fold them into the chocolate mixture. Pour into serving dishes and chill overnight. I found that this amount, which Nigella says "makes enough for 4 small children", filled 3 champagne glasses.

By the way - we don't normally drink P&N juice, I just bought it to make marinated chicken drumsticks. And I don't eat Flora margarine - my parents and brother have it on their toast. For me, it's real butter, or nothing. (Usually nothing).

Today, when I finally finished my (God-awful) Japanese essay, I was suddenly, exuberantly, filled with the baking spirit and decided to make some biscuits to go with the mousse.

133. Langues de Chat

This is the first recipe I've done that actually used up some of my many frozen egg whites. Wahoo! The only problem was defrosting the little buggers. I was in a hurry, so rather than waiting for them to thaw naturally, I chucked them in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. After 5 minutes or so, there were still frozen lumps in there, but little threads of opaque white started to appear around the edges. At this point I whipped them off the heat and stirred like crazy until it was all smooth and defrosted. Crisis averted.

To make these little biscuits you cream butter and sugar, then add the unbeaten egg whites, vanilla extract and flour. Then pipe them into small strips. I did most of the piping in the lounge room, on my mum's table, because my dad was stir-frying noodles, and I didn't want the smell to be absorbed into my delicate little biscuits.

Now, Nigella says "they spread enormously", but they don't really spread that much. I was being very cautious and piped them very small to begin with...

And after their 8 minutes baking, they turned out small! Brown and wizened and otherwise pathetic looking. See in the picture below - the first batch is on the left and subsequent, normal-looking batches on the right. I photographed them next to my How to Eat to give you an indication of their small size. I'm not the world's greatest piper either, hence their irregular shapes.


Children's Chocolate Mousse with nice-looking Langues de Chat

My parents and I shared one mousse this afternoon sitting outside on our deck. The mousse had a wonderfully milky chocolate taste to it, but a strange texture. I know this is indelicate of me to say, but it had a snot-like texture. As in, it was stringly gloopy and would slide off the spoon with a "plomp" sound.

I thought it was a bit sweet, but my mum thought it was perfect. My dad liked it too.

But actually, with regards to the biscuits, the small brown langues de chat were much, much nicer than the normal-sized ones. They were delightfully crunchy and buttery. As they say, it's not the size of the cookie that counts, it's the way it crumbles...


Anonymous said...

If I read the recipe correctly, there was no whipped cream - I think that is what resulted in the strange texture, because mousse usually has whipped cream folded in at the end to give it a lighter, fluffier consistency.

I thought Nigella's recipe, using only chocolate and eggs, was a bit odd.

Karen said...

ick to snotty mousse, but yay that you made the biscuits! i've been wondering what they're like, cos i too have a stash of eggwhites in the freezer!

oh, and a tip for next time - to defrost faster, just soak the bag of eggwhites in water and change the water constantly. or leave under a slow running tap (cold water, not hot!)


Karen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I have made the mousse with and without adding the golden syrup, and I liked it better without. It is lighter and less sweet. With syrup the chocolate thickened and I did not like that. Plus, if the egg whites are beaten well and holding the peaks, and you do not overmix the mousse, you do not really need the cream, imho.

If you ever want to give it another go, try it without the syrup.