Baking & Sweets

It looks like I didn’t post about Hervé This’ vegan (or, can be vegan) chocolate mousse. So I guess I’d better.

For what it’s worth, in these Culinary posts, I want to only do long-form posts if I’ve done enough of my own additional work to have a real discussion.

With the mousse, though I started with This’ (pronounced “Teess” according to his book listing) and Blumenthal’s material, I also did some more research myself, because at one point I wanted to do this mousse up right for a friend who could only tolerate coconut nectar sugar for a sweetener, so I did some trials with different quantities and types of 100% unsweetened non-milk-chocolate chocolates, and different quantities of coconut nectar sugar to zero into the right sweetness level for me and my friend Karine.

The first thing you need to know is that chefs and patisserie professionals generally do all they can to keep water AWAY from chocolate. This is because if water gets into your tempered chocolate, it can seize. It’s because in general, water and chocolate do bad things to each other from the perspective of smoothness and yumminess.

The second thing to know is that This is basically one of the founders of the culinary discipline of molecular gastronomy. So while doing his experiments, This found out that if you add melted chocolate and water (in very precise measured portions) and then whisk the absolute shit out of it, and stop when you get to the gloppy whipped cream texture stage, you’ll get a mousse. Which is very far from the whole seized chocolate issue.

The third thing you should know is that a chocolate mousse like this tastes very different from the chocolate mousses made more traditionally, with cream, and liqueur, and sugar. A water and whisking chocolate mousse brings out these incredible, intense, fruity flavors, and smoky, and coffee, and other acid and fruity flavors from the chocolate you’ve been snacking on all this time. I generally like to serve this kind of mousse with just some unsweet whipped cream. Maybe some complementary fruit. And I like the mousse itself made of dark chocolate, 72% bittersweet, or even self-sweetened 100% baking chocolate. And if you make it of dark chocolate (instead of milk), it’s vegan! It’s also super duper rich, so beware of that, because you only need small portions for serving.

For the video I saw that inspired me to try it, find a copy of Heston Blumenthal’s video talking about and demonstrating Hervé This’ technique.

Food52, which is a food blogging site I’ve always respected, has both an article and a video about it, too.

As a note, though Food52 says you can serve immediately or refrigerate, in my experience the mousse firms up even more if you refrigerate it, so you may want to stop whipping it earlier than Heston Blumenthal’s video indicates.

I told you I experimented with different 100% chocolates and coconut flower nectar sugar. I happened to keep notes on that on my food experiments wiki. Which I hope will help you with your future experiments too!