Christine Cikowski's Chocolate Mousse

Photography by  Paul Strabbing

Photography by Paul Strabbing

In the nick of time for Valentine's….

In my world a Valentine is the subject of your secret love or lust.  You send a card anonymously and wait with a feverish excitement as to whether the recipient figures out that it’s from you.  Or you are the recipient and you feel so special to know that someone is thinking of you but who could it be?  At least that’s how it was for me from about 10 to 15 years old.  Then just as the Santa bubble is burst, Valentines Day turns into the saccharine, commercialised, monetised monstrosity that society accepts as the norm.

I like the way the Romans did it with drunken, naked, bloody theatrics and a couple of executions.  I mean, love is dark and crazy and weird isn’t it?  But as soon as Shakespeare got a hold it seems the romance came in and so it goes until Hallmark turned the whole damned thing into a profanely mediocre event.

So if you love or lust for someone then take a bit of time to make this chocolate mousse.  In true chef fashion Christine has given me the quantity to make it for 24 people.  I say make this quantity because it will amply cover a body for the pleasure of licking off.  Or just do the math.

(If you cant find Valrhona chocolate make sure you buy something equally as good and in the 70% range of cacao.)

Christine Cilowski’s Chocolate Mousse

750 grams Valrhona chocolate

187.5 grams unsalted butter

100 grams. fine sugar

23 eggs, separated

Makes enough for 24 people.

Combine the chocolate and butter (butter on the bottom) in a DRY AND CLEAN bowl over a pot of simmering water and melt without overheating. Pull off and continue stirring to finish melting.

Once the chocolate is ready, start whipping the egg whites. At soft peak, add the sugar. Whip the egg whites and sugar until stiff peak.

Temper in the chocolate to the egg yolks, slowly whisking as the chocolate is poured in. Fold the whipped whites into the chocolate mixture a third at a time, folding more carefully at the second and last thirds to incorporate maximum amount of air. Chill at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Eat cold.

Johanna Lowe