Life Lessons & Chocolate Mousse

The following is from Elizabeth. This chocolate mousse recipe is just in time for Valentine’s Day.

It begins with five ingredients — sugar, eggs, chocolate, water, and cream.

Through careful technique, I spin these rich, but basic, staples into a concoction that becomes so much more than the sum of its parts.

My famous from-scratch chocolate mousse has become a Valentine’s Day tradition. The first Valentine’s Day I made it, my husband proposed (after dessert, of course).

True mousse is labor-intensive, and its success rests wholly on skilled execution.

chocolate mousse recipe

The chocolate melts slowly over simmering water, while I crack eggs. I carefully let the whites slip through my fingers and cradle the rounded yellow-orange suns in my palm. I slide them into the stainless steel mixing bowl and whip to pale yellow.

While the mixer still churns, I boil a simple mixture of water and sugar. Then, I pour in the thinnest possible ribbon of syrup, slow and steady. Dump it in, and the egg scrambles. Don’t add it, and you’ve got raw eggs. Chefs call this process tempering.

In this case, I’m tempering the cool egg yolk mixture with a tiny bit of hot simple syrup. I’m slowly bringing the eggs up to temperature so they don’t curdle. If I get impatient, if I pour the hot into the cold too quick — or worse yet, all at once — I have scrambled eggs bathed in sugar. {yuck!}

God tempers us at times, doesn’t he? We ache for a big change, a big dream, a big challenge. So, we go for it, and God says no, or not now.

And, we’re left asking why.

Lately, I think God’s tempering me. He knows I can’t take the heat all at once, or I might curdle. So, he’s preparing me, incorporating a little challenge here, turning up the heat there, blending a bit of humility through and through. He’s teaching patience, softening my stubborn heart incrementally, schooling me in trust.

It’s slow. And I long to skip to fabulous, skip the tempering. Don’t you too?

***

With chocolate mousse, the hardest part actually comes after tempering. The true test arrives with folding. I set aside my lovely, smooth sauce. I’ve already tempered the eggs with simple syrup and blended in the melted chocolate. Now, I whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. I’ve infused the rich white cream with air, through and through, and it stands in soft, airy mounds.

My final challenge: How to blend the chocolatey-sugar-egg sauce with the whipped cream? Folding.

chocolate mousse in process

My mom taught me how to fold. Folding is not stirring. Folding is not gentle mixing. Folding is a technique that uses a spatula and at least twenty minutes of painstaking patience. You slide your spatula delicately beneath your mound of chocolate sauce and whipped cream and drag it ever so slowly over the top and back to the bottom of the bowl.You turn the bowl and slide beneath the mixture and drag over the top in another area. You repeat. And repeat. And, repeat some more…. You’re ever so slowly blending the two. The goal: Keep the airy texture of whipped cream, while still blending in the chocolate thoroughly.

The tempering produces a silky sauce; the folding produces an airy mousse. Done correctly and together, the final product is velvety, airy, and not unlike heaven on a spoon {in this girl’s honest opinion}.

While I muster the patience once a year for this culinary treat, I display far less patience in my spiritual life. God knows how to shape us, how to transform us into something more than the sum of our parts. He possesses the ultimate skill; He’s mastered the technique. He can temper, He can fold.

I’m so grateful He can concoct outcomes far more delightful than our clumsy hands could ever manage.

chocolate mousse

Homemade Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

5.2 ounces semisweet chocolate

1 whole egg

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1.2 ounces water

1 cup heavy cream, whipped with vanilla to taste

Technique:

Melt chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water. Combine whole eggs with yolks and whip in mixer until thick. Boil sugar and water together until sugar has dissolved. Slowly stream hot syrup into eggs, while constantly whipping, until cooled. Blend in chocolate. Set mixture aside while you whip the cream. Carefully add chocolate-egg mixture to the whipped cream and slowly fold the together to keep airy texture. Refrigerate overnight and serve. I add extra fresh whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and raspberries to each dish right before serving.

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Elizabeth grew up on a small, 220-acre farm in the Midwest and lives today in the suburbs with her three littles (10,8, and 3), her husband, and their ditsy but lovable English Springer Spaniel. You can find her writing about faith, family, and nature at Seasons With Soul or follow her on Twitter @seasonswithsoul.

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