Here begins the first of many experiments that pertains to my Grandmother’s cookery books and to kick off, I thought I’d break in with the simplest looking thing I could find: a chocolate mousse.
Before I even begin there are already complications. She has in fact written a couple of recipes, well.. one and a half to be exact. First, a ‘Miner Creme Chocolate’, leafed between the Crème Renversée Caramel and the Petit Pots de Crème à l’Anglaise of French Cooking for the Home by Louis Diat, margined with a yellowing strip of sixty year old sellotape. Secondly, a ‘Chocolate Sweet’ into the back pages of Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cookbook with a few splatterings of ancient chocolate escapades.
Now perhaps because it is the middle of the week and my I’m not feeling my most adventurous tonight, I went for the simpler American choice. I will save the richer looking version for a weekend evening with dinner and test it out on friends.
So, the ingredients:
Miner Chocolate (1oz, per person)
Eggs (1 per person).
1 Tbsp water.
This is all.
Well, firstly what is this Miner chocolate? As the more complex recipe was named ‘Miner Creme Chocoalate’, I thought perhaps it was named after the friend from whom the recipe was received. But no, after a little research it was more likely to be Menier chocolate, a now non-existent make of French chocolate. Chocolat Menier was a french chocolate manufacturers that merged with Cacao Barry, later bought by Group Ufico-Perrier, which in turn was sold to Rowntree Mackintosh who then were acquired by Nestlé. Such is the fate of chocolatiers in this day and age. Therefore for I suppose ultimately, I should have used a bar of Nestlé chocolate – but when the only plain Nestlé branded chocolate that immediately comes to mind is Yorkie or Aero, the recipe feels suddenly lacking. These are not the sorts of chocolate you make deserts with.
So it was decided that Green and Blacks was the chocolate of choice for the first test. Exactly 1oz is half a bar.
The recipe instructions seemed simple.
Melt chocolate in pan with one tbsp water – add beaten egg yolks – Fold in whites.
Unfortunately, after melting the chocolate, adding the yolks and folding the whites (hand whisked, I’ll have you know) – I have to say I wondered what exactly I was to do next. Bake it? Chill it? After a quick cross reference with a few other modern recipes I figured that chilling it was the way to go.
90 minutes later and the experiment was complete, but for the tasting. In short: A surprisingly perfect texture for my first mousse. However, the lack of sugar was evident and the 70% cocoa solids choice of chocolate also. I think next time around, a bar of Galaxy perhaps – but I think the higher oil content would affect final consistency. Maybe instead: a dash of caster sugar and an extra tbsp of water in the melting.