June 5, 2008


Summer does terrible things to a baker. Who wants to turn on a 350º oven when it's already 100º out? Summer heat melts chocolate and turns fluffy buttercream frostings and whipped creams into sad puddles. Who wants to eat a heavy, sweet cake during swimsuit season?

What is there for me to do but dishes? Awful!

My sweet co-worker Kim gave me a bottle of Chambord yesterday. The bottle is so darn cute I didn't want to open it. But I ended up using a couple of tablespoons in a seasonally-appropriate recipe that doesn't require you to turn on the oven: Chocolate Raspberry Mousse. I'll grant that it is relatively rich and caloric for those of us who are trying to reduce, but you only need a couple of bites to feel satisfied. Another wonderful thing about this recipe is that in can be whipped up in half an hour, much quicker than your average layer cake + frosting. My upcoming plans for the Chambord include raspberry ice cream, chocolate truffles, and berry Tiramisu or trifle.

Chocolate-Raspberry Mousse
Cook's Illustrated | Makes 3 1/2 cups (6 to 8 servings)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine
2 tablespoons Cocoa powder , preferably Dutch-processed
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Chambord
2 large eggs , separated
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 cup heavy cream , plus 2 more tablespoons (chilled)
1. Melt chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and water in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in Chambord.

2. Whisk egg yolks, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and salt in medium bowl until mixture lightens in color and thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Pour melted chocolate into egg mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Let cool until slightly warmer than room temperature, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute. Detach whisk and bowl from mixer and whisk last few strokes by hand, making sure to scrape any unbeaten whites from bottom of bowl. Using whisk, stir about one-quarter of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it; gently fold in remaining egg whites with rubber spatula until a few white streaks remain.

4. Whip heavy cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 15 seconds longer. Using rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into mousse until no white streaks remain. Spoon mousse into 6 to 8 individual serving dishes or goblets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set and firm, at least 2 hours. (The mousse may be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.) Serve mousse with fresh raspberries, if desired.

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