I had already experimented with Mexican Ibarra chocolate, making Kahlua Truffles and Ibarra Brownies with great success. Could this coarse, strong chocolate be used in a delicate, smooth mousse? Absolutely. Move over, Belgian bittersweet!
Ibarra chocolate has coarse sugar crystals, a hint of cinnamon, and a very strong chocolate flavor. Because of its hardness, it is not used for eating out of hand (unless there is no other chocolate in the house), and it is not normally used for dessert making. But with a few adjustments — omitting the sugar, adding more cinnamon, and stirring to dissolve the sugar crystals — it produced as fine a mousse as I have ever eaten.
Chocolate Mousse with Mexican Ibarra Chocolate serves 8
- 8 oz. (225 grams) Ibarra chocolate
- 6 tablespoons (90 ml.) hot espresso or strong coffee
- 3 oz. (84 grams) soft, unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- optional 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) Kahlua liqueur
- Whipped cream and ground cinnamon for garnish.
- Read through recipe completely; assemble and measure/weigh ingredients.
- Melt chocolate with hot coffee either in the micro-wave oven (for 30-second increments, stirring every 30 seconds) or in a double boiler over simmering water. There is no need to chop up the chocolate, as it will melt while you prepare the other ingredients.
- When completely melted, stir briskly for one minute to dissolve sugar crystals. Set aside to reach room temperature.
- With a whisk, beat butter and cinnamon into melted chocolate and coffee.
- Beat in egg yolks, one at a time.
- Beat the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. (Place the mixing bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes, and keep the cream in the fridge until ready to whip.)
- Wash bowl and whisk with very hot, sudsy water and dry. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Spoon the chocolate mixture down the side of the bowl of whipped egg whites, and fold together using a spatula, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
- Gently fold in the whipped cream with a spatula.
- Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons of Kahlua into each of 8 serving dishes. Divide mousse among the dishes, being careful not to displace the Kahlua up the sides.
- Cover and chill several hours. Serve with spoonfuls of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.
To separate eggs, crack an egg on the counter and carefully pour the contents into one hand. Slightly open your fingers, just enough to let the egg white fall through, while the yolk remains in your hand. This is the most fool-proof way for separating an egg without breaking the yolk. If the yolk breaks, the tiniest amount will prevent egg whites from attaining their full volume when whipped. Your hands should be completely clean of any traces of butter or other oils.
For whipping egg whites, the bowl and whisk beater should be washed in very hot, sudsy water to remove any remnants of fat or oil, which will prevent the whites from whipping up fully.
Omit the Kahlua if you wish, or use a different liqueur, such as Grand Marnier.
For the freshest ground cinnamon, grind cinnamon sticks (the soft bark of true cinnamon, not the hard sticks of cassia cinnamon) in a coffee grinder. To fill a spice bottle, snap 3 6″ (15 cm.) cinnamon sticks into 1″ pieces and grind until fine.