Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mocha Mousse with Sichuan Peppercorns

I've been trying really hard to be a better baker this year. By habit, I’m an eyeball-er not a measure-er, so baking often ends in a flop for me. This recipe isn't really baking, but it involves chocolate and eggs and lots of chemistry, and that’s enough of a challenge for me.

Surprisingly enough, this was very easy. Definitely use a hand mixer for your egg whites; I don’t own one (gasp!), and neither my immersion blender nor my stand mixer did the trick because the liquid volume was so small. In the end, I beat them by hand. GREAT workout if you need one!

Mocha Mousse with Sichuan Peppercorns
by Dawn Harmon
adapted from Epicurious

1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Lock-n-Load Java Double Tap Special Reserve coffee

4 ounces chocolate of your choice (I used semisweet, Epicurious calls for 70% cacao bittersweet), chopped
3 large egg whites
1 Tablespoon sugar

1. Combine the peppercorns, cream, and coffee in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to simmer, remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

2. Using the double boiler method, melt the chocolate in a large bowl while the cream steeps.

3. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the cream mixture. Add the strained mixture to the chocolate and mix until smooth.

4. Beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form. GENTLY fold the whites into the chocolate mixture – your best bet is a silicone spatula.

5. To serve: spoon the mousse into small dishes (I used demitasse cups) and chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Serve with whipped cream or fruit if desired.

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