RECIPE TITLE "La Maison du Chocolat's Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse"
recipe excerpted from The Paris Cookbook Copyright © by Patricia Wells.
... more great recipes from Patricia Wells on our GREAT CHEFS page!
When I first moved to Paris in 1980, one of my biggest treats was to walk to the end of my street and wander into La Maison du Chocolat for a mid-afternoon chocolate fix. Owner Robert Linxe remains one of the city's paramount chocolatiers, always offering quality, creativity, and excellence. He kindly shared this exquisite chocolate mousse: It is light, rich with chocolate flavor, and as voluptuous as one could ever imagine.
1/2 cup heavy cream
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (preferably Lindt Excellence 70% or Valhrona guanaja 70%) broken into pieces (see Note)
3 tablespons unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Equipment: A double boiler; a heavy-duty mixer
1. In the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, boiling water, heat the cream just until warm, about 1 minute. Add the chocolate pieces, and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the butter and stir to melt and combine. Remove from the heat. One by one, whisk in the egg yolks. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and set it aside to cool.
2. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whisk. Whisk at low speed until the whites are frothy. Gradually increase the speed to high. Slowly add the sugar, cocoa, sea salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk at high speed until stiff but not dry.
3. Stir one third of the egg white mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture, and whisk until the two are thoroughly blended. (This will lighten the batter and make it easier to fold in the remaining egg white mixture.) With a large spatula, gently fold in the remaining white mixture. Do this slowly and patiently. Do not overmix, but be sure that the mixture is well blended and that no streaks of white remain.
4. Pour the mousse into a large glass bowl, eight individual ramekins, or eight pot de crème cups. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Serve within a few hours.
* Add about 1/2 vanilla bean, finely ground, to the chocolate. Do not add too much, or the vanilla will make the chocolate taste too sweet.
* Add 1 small cup of very strong coffee, along with the grated zest of 1 orange or 1 lemon, to the cream when you heat it.
* Add 1 teaspoon finely ground ginger to the warm cream. Let the mixture cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Note: Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate can be used interchangeably, and are made of chocolate, cocoa butter, and a bit of sugar to make the chocolate more palatable. Unsweetened chocolate contains no sugar at all and is considered less palatable.
Robert Linxe says:
* "The amount of egg whites makes this a very light mousse."
* "Don't put the mousse in the refrigerator, but in a cool spot. The cold will block the flavor of the chocolate and it will lose its smooth, creamy quality."
* "For a truly rich mousse, use an extra-bitter chocolate -- Van Couva from Trinidad, the best chocolate in the world."
Chocolate is delicious with one of France's newly popular vins doux naturels, such as Boissy-Masson's Rancio, full of body with a nuttiness that pairs well with the richness of chocolate.
The Paris Cookbook. Copyright © by Patricia Wells.
|Vegetable Harvest: Vegetables at the Center of the Plate
To dispense with a puzzlement right away--though named Vegetable Harvest, Patricia Wells's marvelous 190-plus recipe collection doesn't center on those edibles exclusively. Rather, it offers a well-rounded dish selection that puts them to brilliant use, often as supporting players (except, of course, in chapters titled "Vegetables" and "Potatoes"). This bit of culinary license shouldn't discourage anyone from buying the book, whose recipes, such as Baby Squid Salad with Garlic, Olives, Tomatoes and Parsley; Penne with Fava Beans, Basil Puree, and Parmesan; and Lamb Couscous with Chickpeas and Zucchini, exemplify all that's remarkable about Wells's approach to modern French cooking. Emphasizing simplicity, ingredient freshness and, yes, ease of preparation, the dishes--including breads and desserts like Lemon and Rosemary Flatbread and Almond Buttermilk Sorbet--will delight any cook who prizes direct yet brilliantly orchestrated flavor. In addition to wine advice, Wells also offers a pantry chapter including sauce and vinaigrette recipes--Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing is one--nearly worth owning the book for. In works including The Provence Cookbook and Bistro Cooking, Wells brought French cooking to the American kitchen in a way both authentic and relaxed. Vegetable Harvest furthers that approach spectacularly. --Arthur Boehm Click here to buy
How can a good cook become a great cook? It's all in the detailsBecoming a Good Cook Means Learning Principles that Will Last
You a Lifetime in the Kitchen; With Simply French,
You Will Never Cook The Same Way Again.
# Knowing when to season and how
# Appreciating the simple process of reducing a sauce
# Allowing meats and poultry to rest so they release maximum flavor
# The simple art of straining a sauce for a refined condensed flavor
# Knowing why dried herbs are no substitute for fresh
In Simply French acclaimed food critic and best-selling author of Trattoria Patricia Wells works side by side with award-winning French chef Joel Robuchon to distill the best of the French table for the American cook. Among the 125 exciting recipes youll find in Simply French are Potatoes "Chanteduc," a perfect Roast Chicken, Beef Tenderloin Roasted in Herb-Infused Salt Crust, Marbleized Chocolate Wafers, and Cinnamon-Chocolate Mousse.Click here to buy
In this warm look into the world of French bistro food, eminent food writer Patricia Wells reveals her love for this simple, robust cuisine in a collection of recipes garnered from France's best bistros. From Warm Potato Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette to Lamb Stew in White Wine to Pear Clafoutis, Wells admits her preference for hearty, homey bistro dishes. Through clearly written recipes, Wells encourages cooks to buy the best ingredients and turn them into fragrant, warming dishes. Each recipe has a note telling where it came from and alluding to its flavor. Pithy quotes throughout the book relate to bistro style--in cooking, serving, and eating--and historical quotations give a cultural connotation. Wine choices reach deep into the heart of France, from a crisp white from Provence such as a Chateau Simone with lamb, to a good Côtes du Rhone (Cru du Coudelet) with guinea hen. From the introduction to the last dessert recipe (for Prunes in Red Wine), Bistro Cooking is sure to please not just the novice in the kitchen, but the experienced cook as well. --Susan Loomis, Amazon.co.uk Click here to buy
|The Paris Cookbook
American-born Paris dweller Patricia Wells has turned her love of French food into a remarkable series of culinary works. The Paris Cookbook reflects that affection and her familiarity with the Paris food scene, offering 150 of its best recipes. From famed chef Joël Robuchon's sublime Creamy White Bean Soup to a hearty flank steak dish courtesy of Wells's butcher; from bistro Chez Benoit's Asparagus and Green Bean Salad to confectioner La Maison du Chocolate's Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse, the book abounds in wonderful food. Wells's achievement, here as elsewhere, is to make her recipes genuinely accessible to the average cook; well-chosen and lucidly written, they invite even the hesitant into the kitchen with the promise of great eating.
Following the courses of a typical Parisian meal, from appetizers through desserts, the book presents three-star dishes like Arpège Eggs with Maple Syrup, as well as more humble fare, including an exemplary Lemon Chicken and socca, the delicious Provençale pancakes. A section on pasta, rice, beans, and grains offers such standouts as Flora's Polenta Fries. Desserts also receive their due with delights like Fresh Fig and Almond Gratin. Illustrated with photos that evoke Parisian life at the market and at the table, and containing a wealth of tips and helpful information, wine recommendations, plus the addresses of the dining spots mentioned, the book is a worthy addition to Wells's dependable store of cooking guides. --Arthur Boehm Click here to buy
|The Provence Cookbook
In books including The Paris Cookbook and Bistro Cooking Patricia Wells offered personal takes on delicious French fare. The Provence Cookbook finds Wells, a resident of the region, evoking the terroir in over 200 recipes culled form chefs, home cooks, farmers, and more. Like her other collections, Provence yields easy but elegant fare--modern, light-on-their-feet dishes like Six-Minute Cod Braised in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Francks's Roasted Duck Breasts with Green Olives. While the recipes are truly French (with an occasional cross-cultural contribution), Wells has done her usual trick of translating them for relaxed American cooking; she's also provided enticing vignettes on local markets; on ingredients, like the nutty camargue rice; and on other culinary suppliers such as Hervé Poron, "The Truffle King." In themselves, the listings make a useful guide.
In addition to the expected categories, the large recipe range includes breads, pasta, and egg and cheese dishes, such as Quick Polenta Bread with Rosemary, Linguini with Saffron, and Baked Arugula Omelet. Desserts are hardly neglected, and include evocative specialties like Fresh Fig and Homemade Apricot Jam Tart, Three Pear Cake, and Individual Cherry-Hazelnut Gratins. Tips like "On Peeling Tomatoes," menus, and photos further distinguish a book that will delight both Wells's fans and those fortunate to discover her culinary France. --Arthur Boehm Click here to buy