Dear Chef Bourdain;
What motivation is there in life for the heterosexual male of greater import than to woo women? In this endeavor, the God of nature and the world has given us a few allies, not least of which is chocolate. (And my machismo, but that only works for me. Mostly.) So recipes that involve not just chocolate, but really good chocolate are like solid gold when it comes to wooing women – particularly when the operations order involves deploying them in the immediate proximity of Valentine’s Day. This was a carefully orchestrated hit, Chef, and …well, a gentleman would say no more. Nor shall I.
So as the opening phase of this particular operation, I gathered my meez. You’ll note that I happened to find the precise brand of chocolate you mention in the book – and happily they carry it at the Whole Foods down the street. Vahlrona, to be precise. But I threw in a little Dagobah chocolate for the second layer, because it’s really, really good, and also named after Yoda’s planet.
You’ll note the exercise supplements in the background. While my sudden vast increase of butter and cream intake hasn’t actually gained me any weight, neither has it lost me any. If I’m going to remain in my current stunning pear-shaped physique, and not outright spheroid, I’d better start lifting heavy things guilty of nothing other than sizable inertia due to the interaction of mass and gravity. So I’m on that. But in the mean time. Chocolate!
Step one is to get your chocolate nice and melty. This is pretty easy – hot water and a mixing bowl. Maybe I’d have used a proper double-boiler, but when in doubt I’m following your instructions.
Happily I’ve taken your “don’t fuck up your meez” mantra well to heart, and thus had already separated my eggs when the chocolate was melting. I whipped up the whites until they had soft peaks. When the chocolate was melted, I added gran marnier and it quickly changed color and consistency into something really sticky and really shiny. I mean, still obviously chocolate, it’s not like it turned into The Silver Surfer’s boogers or something. But a real obvious change in state.
After that I added the yolks and melted in the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon. Unfortunately, I let this sit for a while to whip up the whites a little more. I’m afraid it might have had a negative effect. Once I mixed in the whites (blended with sugar and cream) it was still really dense.
I poured it out into the souffle cups I’d set aside for the purpose and realized it barely covered the bottom. This seemed chintzy to me. (Is that a word I can use that’s not based on some ethnic slur?) It also seemed way too dense, and not at all like the light and fluffy consistency I think of as being “mousse.” So I quickly whipped up a second batch with the left over chocolate. That’s pretty cool, it sort of tells me that this isn’t a terribly hard thing to scratch together in a hurry.
Later on I was serving truffled fries, steak au poivre and asparagus, so I had lots to do. It was nice to be able to tuck this in the fridge and pull it out as needed. (This is true of so many things, especially when you realize I refer to my shorts as “the fridge.”) Dutiful to your imprecation, I did not even think about Reddi-Whip or Cool-Whip. Actually, that is a lie – because you mentioned it, I couldn’t help but think of it. It’s like of someone jumped out from behind your couch and said “DON’T THINK ABOUT ELEPHANTS!” you’d probably think about elephants. Also what they were doing behind your couch, and why the strange man in the clown shoes had an ocelot on his head…err, wait, no, that’s just me.
So I whipped some cream fresh, and here’s the proof.
The result wasn’t like any kind of mousse I’ve had in the past, but it was really good. It was incredibly rich, and my double-helping was too much for everyone but the most gluttonous of eaters. (That’s pretty much just me.) In the future I’ll just use smaller serving vessels, like even something as small as a highball or shot-glass. But intricacies of glassware aside, it had a great, rich flavor. It wasn’t too sweet (like all of your desserts) but was very complex, creamy and delicious. With the none-too-sweet freshly whipped cream on top, it balanced really nicely and made a perfect cap to the dinner.
The rest of the work, of course, was done by machismo after the guests went home.
P.S. And by “the work” I mean “eating the leftovers.”