02 June 2013


There's a word in the English language I particularly like: rich. As in, applied to food. In German, the equivalent "reich" strictly means "having lots of money" (if you capitalise it, Reich, it also means "empire", but as an adjective it just means, well, "wealthy"). But the English "rich" contains so much more. Today I made some chocolate mousse for dessert to go with Sunday dinner (goulash, egg noodles, and salad fresh from the garden, if you must know), and it totally covers every meaning of that word.

The ingredients in this delectable concoction (recipe to follow) are chocolate (actual chocolate, not just cocoa powder), butter, eggs, sugar (regular and icing), and whipping cream. The only way to make it more decadent, more expensive, would be to add some booze. (Ooh, that's a thought - a shot of Grand Marnier, perhaps? Hmm...) Eggs, butter, cream, sugar, chocolate - everything that is costly and rare, or should by rights be so.

And it tastes rich, too. It's the kind of thing you eat in tiny servings, because after a dozen dessertspoonfuls, you just can't eat any more. But oh, those dozen spoonfuls... Bliss.

And as promised, here's the recipe. It comes from Christian Teubner's Kochvergnügen wie noch nie ("Cooking Pleasures As Never Before"), the 1985 edition. One of my aunts gave it to my mother as a Christmas present, about that year or the year after, and as my mum isn't big into trying out recipes, I absconded with the book and its companion volume, Backvergnügen wie noch nie ("Baking Pleasures As Never Before"), when I emigrated to Canada. (The only-English-speaking among you might recognize the word "Vergnügen" in this context from the VW ads promising Fahrvergnügen, "driving pleasures". Personally, I get more Vergnügen out of cooking or baking than driving, but to each their own.) So here you are:

Mousse au chocolat

(serves 4-6)

100g (3oz) semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tbsp butter (unsalted)
2 eggs
1 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
1/4 l (1c) cream
1 Tbsp icing sugar

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat. Separate the eggs; beat the egg whites with the salt to stiff peaks, the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy. Blend the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate, along with a couple of spoonfuls of the egg whites. Leave to cool slightly. Whip the cream with the icing sugar. Fold together the chocolate mixture, egg white and cream.
Dish into fancy little dishes (I like using those 1970's champagne glasses, the wide, flat ones that are supposed to be originally molded on Marie Antoinette's breast. Which should turn one right off any food or drink that would be served in them, but as it's probably an entirely apocryphal story, I don't let it bother me.). Chill for a couple of hours (you and the dishes). Lick spoon and mixing bowl.
(The original recipe doesn't include that last instruction, and instead says to reserve some of the whipping cream for garnishing the dishes just before serving, sprinkle on chopped pistachios, and put one coffee bean on top of each. But I never do that. I do, however, lick the bowl, so I thought I'd share my own version with you. Don't blame Herr Teubner.)

So there you have it. This is the epitome of rich food. I made a double recipe today; it turned out exceptionally well (it doesn't always, so that's particularly gratifying), and there's not a single lick left.

Life, the Universe, and Rich Food. I feel privileged.


  1. I love chocolate mousse. It's a strictly-for-special-occasions dessert around here, but you better believe I look for excuses to turn any moment into a special occasion so I can make it. So, so good.

    1. I had some whipping cream left from the last special occasion (Mother's Day) that needed using up, that's why I made it yesterday. And it's so great when it turns out!