05_05_bouchon.jpgBouchon by Thomas Keller (Artisan, 2004)

While Thomas Keller's Per Serestaurant won this year's James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant, we know that most New Yorkers will never set foot there. The prices are rather steep, making it a once-in-a-lifetime sort of experience for those who do go at all.

But Keller does have two cookbooks that give insight into his cooking technique, style, and inspiration. Gothamist decided to try our hand at one of his recipes from the Bouchon cookbook, which is named for his French bistro restaurant that sticks to more classic French cooking and is therefore easier to replicate than the rather insane (in a good way) things he's got going on in Napa Valley's French Laundry and NYC's Per Se. Keller's recipe for a classic dark chocolate mousse seemed reasonably easy to prepare yet completely and utterly decadent, so Gothamist knew that was the recipe for us. By melting, stirring, whipping, separating, and folding, Gothamist transformed chocolate, butter, heavy cream, and eggs into the ethereal, creamy, and bittersweet treat that is chocolate mousse.

We loved this recipe. If you've never made a chocolate mousse before, now's the time to give it a whirl.

DARK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Valrhona Manjari (64%), finely chopped
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons espresso or hot water
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar

2005_06_chocolatemousse.jpgPreparation
Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso (or water) in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.

Meanwhile, whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate. Once the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.

Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes. Refrigerate for at least eight hours. (The mousse can be refrigerated for up to a day.)