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Friday, September 4, 2015

A Labor Day Labor of Love

Paris' Ambassade d'Auvergne sublime chocolate mousse

I’ve had this chocolate mousse too many to count at one of my favorite restaurants in Paris.  This rendition, to me, is the benchmark for which to judge all other chocolate mousses on the planet.  And, thanks to a labor of love gesture from one of my dear friends (who was finally able to talk the chef out of the recipe), I now know how this ethereal chocolate masterpiece is created.

A few helpful hints:  I’ve tried this using different chocolates, however, the best rendition is exactly what the Parisian restaurant uses:  Valrhrona.  Also, the longer the finished mousse sits in the refrigerator, the more flavor it develops.  The chef recommended refrigerating it for 12 hours prior to serving, however, this can easily be made a day or two before.  Last, I have reduced the restaurant’s large quantity recipe to something more appropriate for home usage---the recipe below generously serves 8.

Ambassade d’Auvergne’s Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients: 

6 oz  Sweet Valrhrona chocolate (aka ‘milk chocolate’)
3 oz  Bitter Sweet Valrhrona chocolate (aka ‘dark chocolate’)
1 cube butter
3 Tablespoons Grand Marnier (or more if desired)
1.5 Tablespoons vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
9 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar (divided between egg whites and yolk mixture)

Directions:
Melt the chocolate and butter slowly together in a double boiler pan, stirring regularly.  After it has melted, let the chocolate cool while you do the following:

In a separate bowl (do not use a plastic bowl as eggs won’t develop as much volume), whip the egg whites until they get to the soft peak stage. Slowly add little by little 3 tablespoons of the total 2/3 C sugar.  Whip whites until they are stiff with firm peaks.

In yet another bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are pale yellow, then add the remaining sugar mixture (should be about ½ cup) and continue beating until well mixed.  Next, add the Grand Marnier and vanilla.  Mix well.

Pour the cooled chocolate from the double broiler into a large bowl.  Add egg yolk mixture and mix well.  Slowly fold in egg whites little by little---the key is to gently fold so that the egg whites retain their volume.

If you should be in Paris, don’t miss dinner at Ambassade d’Auvergne.  It’s one of the few restaurants opened in the city on Sunday evenings and it's also one of Paris' best bargains.  If it's a Sunday night, a reservation is a must.  But whatever night, be sure to order the chocolate mousse.  http://www.ambassade-auvergne.com

Happy labor day, with love.


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