Lessons in Mousse

Lessons in Mousse

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.

Through careful technique, I spin just five ingredients — sugar, eggs, chocolate, water, and cream —into a concoction that becomes so much more than the sum of its parts.

My infamous 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.

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.

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