Don't let the elegance and the French throw you off. Mousse is incredibly easy to prepare. All you need is a few minutes and your favorite ingredients and you're off and running.
Since coffee, caramel and chocolate are among my cherished tools, this mousse makes me swoon. It's simply egg whites whipped with brown sugar to deliver some caramel notes and whipped cream folded together with instant espresso powder and Kahlua. For some texture, I melted chocolate and mixed in Rice Krispies. Easy peasy.
This is a dessert for those moments when you find yourself desiring luxury without a lot of guilt attached. It's simple and sure to send you straight to heaven.
- You will get more loft if your egg whites are at room temperature. To start, whip the whites on medium speed to a foamy soft peak to unfold and stretch out the proteins before adding the sugar. Increase the speed and drizzle in the sugar a few sprinkles at a time to ensure they are stabilizing the foam. Beat the meringue to a stiff peak, which means it should stand up when lifted without falling over.
- Fat is the enemy of egg whites, so beat them first to ensure there is no fat remaining on the whisk. If there is even a speck of fat, egg whites will not whip.
- Heavy cream should be beaten when cold. Whip the cream just until soft peaks form. The cream should have a soft lilt that is droopy. If you go too far, it will become grainy. Folding whipped cream also stiffens it more.
- I used 54% semisweet chocolate. You can also use 72% bittersweet or 2 oz of each.
- Replace the Rice Krispies with toasted chopped almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts.
- As always, exercise caution when using raw egg whites. They should be not served to small children, pregnant women or individuals who are at risk due to compromised immune systems.
- For more mousse pleasure, try the exquisite Pierre Herme's Chocolate Mousse and Lemon Mousse Tartlets.
Coffee Caramel Frozen Mousse with Chocolate Crunch
Makes about 6 servings
4 oz semisweet (54%) chocolate
1/2 oz (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (1/2 oz) Rice Krispies
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon Kahlua
3 large egg whites (3 oz) @ room temperature
1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (8 oz) heavy cream, chilled
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) granulated sugar
Line baking sheet with a silpat or a piece of parchment. Finely chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Set the bowl over a pan with an inch or two of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water. Stir to combine until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the Rice Krispies. Pour onto the lined baking sheet and spread out to about a 6" x 5" rectangle. Chill about 1/2 hour to firm up. When the chocolate is set, cut it into small bite-sized pieces. Set aside about a third of the chopped chocolate for garnish. Keep chilled until ready to use.
Combine the espresso powder and the Kahlua and set aside.
Whip the egg whites until they are opaque and hold soft peaks. Increase to high speed and add the the brown sugar a little bit at a time. Add the vanilla and beat until the meringue holds stiff glossy peaks.
Whip the chilled cream with granulated sugar just until it holds soft peaks.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold about 1/2 cup of whipped cream into the meringue. Fold in the Kahlua/espresso. Scrape the remaining cream on top and fold everything together until there are just a few streaks left. Fold the chopped chocolate into the mousse until there are no streaks.
Pour the mousse into an airtight container. Smooth the top until it's level and press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface. Cover and place in your freezer for 4 - 6 hours or overnight.
To serve, garnish with remaining chopped chocolate and serve immediately.