Chocolate Mousse

Where to begin?

Two finals due tenth week, two due finals week.  A flight home, and a flight back to Chicago, with a celebration for my brother's graduation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and for our last Russian Easter in my house in between.  My parents accepted an offer on the house.  I'm 20 years old now, too.  I started my full-time position at the same place I've been working part-time since February, and began my summer rowing with Lincoln Park Boat Club.  And I made chocolate mousse.  John and I ate the whole bowl of it ourselves in one sitting - well, he ate most of it, but I helped.

Now I'm in Chicago, living in the guest bedroom at my dad's apartment.  We're out in the town of Worth, southwest of Hyde Park, in the suburbs.  There's not really much else for me to say, even though so much has happened since I last wrote.  I haven't really digested the fact that on July 19 my house won't be mine anymore, that I can now call myself a twenty-something, that I'm halfway done with my undergraduate education.  It just feels like a matter of course.  I feel like I'm floating, not like in some pleasant dream, but in a fragile, untethered way - walking in a mirage, not really sure where I'm going.  I go to work, I row, and then I go back to the apartment and watch Game of Thrones or The Wire.  I pack my lunches, I clean my room.  What else is there to do?  I'm thinking about applying for a Fulbright, to do psychology research in Russia, but other than writing that application I don't know what sense of purpose I'll have for a while.  Friends, I am restless.  Terribly restless.

Chocolate Mousse
from Bon Appetit 

3/4 c chilled heavy cream, divided
4 large egg yolks
1/4 c espresso, room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 large egg whites, room temperature

Beat 1/2 c heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Check for stiff peaks by turning off the beaters, pulling them out of the whipped cream, and turning them upside down - the peaks of whipped cream at the ends of the beaters should stand straight up.  Cover and chill.

Set a large glass or metal bowl over a pot filled with 1 inch of simmering water.  Be sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water - the point is to cook with indirect heat.  Combine the egg yolks, espresso, salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl.   Cook, whisking constantly, until the color of the mixture has lightened and it has almost doubled in volume.  I did this by eye, but if you want a more exact measure, the mixture should register 160 degrees Farenheit when it's done.

Remove the bowl from the pan, and whisk in the chocolate until smooth.  Set aside and let the mixture come to room temperature, whisking occasionally.

Beat the egg whites in another bowl on medium speed just until foamy.  With the beaters running, gradually beat the sugar into the whites until stiff peaks form (check the same way as with the cream).  Wait until the chocolate mixture has come to room temperature before you beat the whites, since you don't want the whites to sit once they've been whipped.

Take 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and gently fold them into the cooled chocolate mixture.  Fold with a rubber spatula by cutting a line through the center of the mixture, scraping along the bottom of the bowl to the left, folding this half of the mixture over the rest, and continuing to scrape down along the the right side of the bowl.  Fold this half of the mixture over, and repeat. Turning over the mixture gently like this will make sure the egg whites don't deflate.

Add in the remaining 2/3 of the whites and do the same thing, until only a few streaks of white remain.  Add in the whipped cream, and fold in the same way as the whites.  Cover and chill the mousse for at least 2 hours, and up to 1 day, before serving.  Serve with the remaining 1/4 c cream, whipped just before eating.

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