Chocolate Heaven; melting bliss; creamy perfection.
The first bite of any dish will always be the star bite. Taste buds come alive to surround each segment of the bite and send signals to our brain, telling us whether to melt into submission or to eat for sustenance. The crater between the two can keep many of us in the kitchen for hours; honing, tweaking, tasting, creating the perfect dish . . . always hoping to reach the pinaccle of bliss.
My culinary experience comes from wonderful, homemade dishes my Grandmother and Mother created along with an inner desire and passion to learn through reading and continual practice. I still use recipes tested by others as a base instead of venturing out, completely on my own, a point I hope to pass in the near future.
Every once in a while, I want to follow in the footsteps of a chef who feels he or she has perfected a dish and wants the kitchen cook to not deviate one iota. This is such a recipe. From Cook's Illustrated, posted on their website, in their November/December 2009 Magazine and taped for public viewing on PBS Channel 9 station.
When we post a recipe, do we care if the recipe is changed along the way or do we want others to see and experience the same finished dish we have elaborately written about and laid out?
I am reposting the recipe because I want to come back and re-create the dish without hunting for hours. I will later forget where this recipe is when I know this recipe is needed to finish the "right" dinner for entertaining.
Important Note: The recipe specifies Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate and Guittard Choc-Au-Lait White Chips. Different types and brands of chocolate were tested and these two stood out as creating distinctive layers of chocolate flavor. The end result is a melt-in-your mouth chocolate heaven with an eye-catching plate appearance.
Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake
(as per Cooks Illustrated website)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
7 ounces, chopped fine bittersweet chocoalte (Ghirardelli Bittersweet)
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs , separated
Pinch table salt
1/3 cup packed (about 2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, crumbled with fingers to remove lumps
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
5 tablespoons hot water
7 ounces, chopped fine bittersweet chocolate (Ghirardelli Bittersweet)
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon water
6 ounces white chocolate chips (Guittard Choc-Au-Lait)
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving, optional
FOR THE BOTTOM LAYER: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 91/2-inch springform pan. Melt butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool mixture slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and egg yolks; set aside.
In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down sides halfway through. Using whisk, fold one-third of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Carefully transfer batter to prepared springform pan, gently smoothing top with offset spatula.
Bake until cake has risen, is firm around edges, and center has just set but is still soft (center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with finger), 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. (Cake will collapse as it cools.) Do not remove cake from pan.
FOR THE MIDDLE LAYER: Combine cocoa powder and hot water in small bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly, 2 to 5 minutes.
In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream, granulated sugar, and salt at medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds.
Whisk cocoa powder mixture into melted chocolate until smooth. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Spoon mousse into springform pan over cooled cake and gently tap pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; gently smooth top with offset spatula. Wipe inside edge of pan with damp cloth to remove any drips. Refrigerate cake at least 15 minutes while preparing top layer.
FOR THE TOP LAYER: In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand at least 5 minutes. Place white chocolate in medium bowl. Bring ½ cup cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture and stir until fully dissolved. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly).
In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip remaining cup cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold remaining whipped cream into white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon white chocolate mousse into pan over middle layer. Smooth top with offset spatula. Return cake to refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
TO SERVE: If using, garnish top of cake with chocolate curls or dust with cocoa. Run thin knife between cake and side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Run cleaned knife along outside of cake to smooth sides. Cut into slices and serve.
I had a sliver last night but another for breakfast (The rest of the day is for burning the calories back off)