What is the best thing to do when the weather is too cold to play outside? Turn on the fire inside and have friends and loved ones over to a dinner party! There is nothing sweeter than coming into a warm home with marvelous smells of food cooking, seeing smiling faces and hearing laughter of friends and family.
It feel so good when I can do something to help others to feel good. One way to make someone feel great is by feeding them. Everyone has their own way of showing love and I show mine by feeding them. I put the same love in my cooking for my family as I do for my clients. I want to feed everyone with not only food that will fill a hungry belly but give peaceful satisfaction afterwards.
For this winter dinner party, we had some wheat allergies and “no gluten” diets. I wanted to still make a special dessert for us and I don’t really like using “imitation flours” or substitutes. If I am going to have a cake, I want to use cake flour. I haven’t found anything that replaces the real deal. So, I chose to make a Mousse Cake which doesn’t call for flour.
For my own dinner parties, I do like to branch out and try new things on my guests. Most of them are pretty good sports for being guinea pigs! I feel like I should disclose here to do what I say and not what I do. Don’t try feeding your guests with a menu you haven’t tried before!
This Mousse Cake did not come without its challenges. First of all, you have to really plan in advance if you’re going to make this because you bake a layer, let it cool, place in the fridge, add another layer on top, bake it and then put it back in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours. It really is a two-day process. It isn’t labor intensive, it just takes time to bake, chill, bake and chill!
From my understanding this recipe originated from Michel Rostang, a Michelin-starred chef, and is now in the wonderful cookbook Around My French Table by Dori Greenspan. On a side note, her cookbook is wonderful. I made individual cakes in ramekins because that is what I had. However, the original recipe calls for a spring pan that you can release the cake from. Using ramekins did make it a little more challenging for me when I was trying to get the cake out. I do have a blow torch that I use for creme brûlée. I used this to heat up the bottom of the ramekins and they will come out after using a knife around the edges. They did come out pretty clean and no one seemed to notice. This was probably because of the deliciousness!
1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup hot coffee (I think, a french coffee press is the best for good dark coffee)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 pinch of salt
4 large eggs, separated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously butter individual ramekins. Then add parchment paper around bottom of ramekins and butter the parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. While the Chocolate is melting begin beating your egg whites in a standing mixer until they are firm and stiff. When the chocolate is all melted, add in hot coffee. Take the chocolate mixture off the heat and add in the butter a table-spoon at a time, then whisk in the sugar. After this is mixed, add egg yolks one at a time. Whisk in half of the egg whites then, gently fold the following half with a rubber spatula. I used an ice cream scoop to fill the ramekins 1/3 way up. After filling 6, there should be half of the mousse leftover. Cover and refrigerate the remaining mousse. Bake the ramekins on a baking sheet for 10-13 minutes. They will be really puffed up, but they will fall as they are cooling. After they are cooled, place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. After the cakes have chilled, add the remaining cold mousse to cold ramekins. This is your second layer. Bake this in a 400 degree F oven for about 20-30 minutes. This will also puff up and then fall as it cools. Place the cakes back in the fridge for a few hours or over night. Again, you have to warm the bottom of the ramekins so that the mousse will come out easily. I served the mousse cake with with strawberries and fresh whipped cream.
The ingredients are pretty simple, the taste is delicious and all of our gluten-free friends can enjoy dessert. No one needs to feel like they are missing out on the party! The process is a little harder but I think you can do it, or just call me! I’ll definitley be making these again, but maybe with a little more planning. Here’s to full bellies and warm hearts through these cold months! Savourer!