My life completely changed once I took the plunge and started writing The Heritage Cook. Not only have I become a better writer (five years of practice will do that, LOL), but my life has been enriched beyond my wildest dreams with the most incredible people. Today’s recipe is the creation of one of my extremely talented food friends, Jenny-Faye Klooster.
Jenny-Faye is a food stylist, artist, and the author of The Swearing Mom food blog. She is such a beautiful soul, warm and loving, with a wicked sense of humor that I love. We sat next to each other at a session during the IACP conference a few years ago and have been friends ever since.
While we were chatting in the session, I asked if I could tag along to a photo shoot if she ever had a job in Northern California (she and her family live in the LA area). As a blogger, I am the chef, prop and food stylist, photographer, and author. I way curious to see how the pros work together to create the magic we see in cookbooks and magazines.
A few weeks later she emailed me – she was doing a shoot for some friends in Stockton, her hometown. She had checked with the owner and I would be welcome to join them. What an extraordinary experience. I had my chance to be behind the scenes and learn from the best! I was able to watch and learn from Jenny-Faye, got a few pointers from the restaurant chef, and gained insight from the photographer. Aspects of the artistry I witnessed that day flavor my plating and photography each time I get ready to share a recipe with you.
A month or so ago Jenny-Faye posted a beautiful chocolate mousse on her blog (http://theswearingmomsguidetolife.com/2015/10/06/dark-chocolate-pomegranate-mousse/) that I immediately knew I wanted to share with you on an upcoming Chocolate Monday. I asked if she would be OK with that and she very graciously said yes. This is such a stunning dessert that I thought it would make the perfect New Year’s Eve treat – what better way to bring in 2016!
If you’ve been following my Chocolate Mondays for a while, you’ll know that including espresso powder is a trick to make chocolate taste more chocolatey. It only takes a little to bump up the flavor and no one will know it is in there.
The recipe also includes uncooked egg whites. Because you keep the dessert refrigerated until just before serving, they are perfectly safe. But if you are making these for anyone with an immune deficiency, use pasteurized eggs.
The pomegranate juice is Jenny-Faye’s creation and it adds such a lovely fruit note to lighten the flavor slightly and have your guests scratching their heads trying to figure out what is different about this chocolate mousse from any others they’ve tried.
Pop over to Jenny-Faye’s site to see her step-by-step photos and her gorgeous staging. She topped hers with whipped cream and I left it off my version. Mine is a little more casual, Jenny-Faye’s more elegant, both showing you ways you can create an eye catching dessert.
Have a marvelous 2016, full of chocolate happiness!
This recipe is naturally gluten-free!
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chips or finely chopped
- 5 tbsp pomegranate juice
- 2 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp Cointreau, optional
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder, optional
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1-1/2 tsp granulated cane sugar
- Whipped Cream
- 1-1/2 tsp granulated cane sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
- Pomegranate arils
- Prepare the Chocolate Mixture: Combine the chocolate, pomegranate juice, cocoa powder, Cointreau and espresso powder in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (about 2-quarts). Set the pan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until about 2/3 of the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and whisk until it is completely melted and smooth.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1-1/2 tsp of the sugar and the salt until it is slightly thickened and pale in color, about 30 seconds. Add about 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture slowly to the eggs while whisking - this tempers the eggs (warms them slightly), helping to keep them from scrambling when mixed with a hot liquid. Very slowly pour the remaining chocolate mixture into the egg mixture while whisking. Set aside to to cool while you whip the egg whites. You should be able to comfortably hold the bottom of the bowl in your hands.
- Whip the Egg Whites: Make sure the bowl of your standing mixer and the whisk attachment are very clean - there can't be any fat present or the eggs won't whip correctly. Whisk the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the sugar and increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to whip until soft peaks form, about 1 more minute. Gently whisk 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate until just a few white streaks remain.
- Prepare the Whipped Cream: Wipe out the mixing bowl and place it and the whisk attachment into the freezer for about 15 minutes. Lock the bowl onto your standing mixer and pour the heavy cream into the bowl. Whip the cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip to medium peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mousse until no white streaks remain.
- Spoon the mousse into individual serving glasses, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set and firm, at least 2 hours.
- To Serve: Sprinkle the tops with a few pomegranate arils prior to serving.
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