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March 25, 2008

Spiced Chocolate Mousses


Hello from New York City! It's been a whirlwind the last two weeks - sorry about all the e-mails and comments I haven't responded to! I'll be back in San Francisco by the end of the week and I promise to redress the situation immediately! I can't wait to share news of how the book is going, as well as my experiences in the dessert paradise that is NYC - pastrygirl may have finally hit her sugar limit! It's been one sweet adventure after another here!

Meanwhile, I have a short post I started writing before I left and that I finally have a few spare moments to finish off, to tide you over until I return. This is twist on a traditional chocolate mousse from Donna Hay magazine, and encapsulates how I feel about desserts in New York: everything is taken just a little further, given a little unexpected fillip or turned wholly upside down - one moment you're eating the best date cake you've ever tasted, the next you're confronting white chocolate, potato crumbles, and beer ice cream on your plate. It's been Alice in Wonderland crossed with Cinderella with a dose of Sex and the City thrown in for good measure.


Back to the mousses, I've always been a proponent of mousse as ideal medium for playing with flavors - a winning strategy of creative tastes in comfort food trappings.  The chocolate mousses here are spiced with cinnamon, star anise, and brown sugar, layered to produce a subtle, mysterious flavor hinting but not wholly revealing its origins. The cinnamon and brown sugar ground it in familiarity, while the star anise adds the perfect je ne sais quoi. I can think of many other spices or flavorings to experiment with in this recipe, although I would suggest keeping it to additions that will incorporate smoothly into the egg whites. If you use the star anise, be sure it's ground finely - you don't want chunks of anise to ruin the velvety smoothness of the mousse!

The mousse is also dreamily light and smooth, not heavy at all, due to the whipped cream and egg whites, so it is perfect spring dessert. Garnished with some sparkling sugar-encrusted fruit, this is a simple creation to make on a moment's whim, so you don't miss a second of the brand-new spring sunshine.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week I'm looking forward to coming home and baking in my own kitchen again!


Spiced Chocolate Mousses

from Donna Hay Magazine

makes about (8) 2 1/2- oz ramekins

4 large eggs, separated

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground star anise

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

7 oz (200 g) chopped dark chocolate

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

4 1/4 oz raspberries

1 beaten egg white

white sanding or sparkling sugar for decoration

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites to soft peaks.

Add sugar, star anise, and cinnamon to the egg whites and whisk to stiff peaks.

Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Remove from heat.

Add 1/4 cup of the cream and the egg yolks and whisk to combine.

In a clean mixer bowl, whisk the remaining cream to soft peaks.

Add in the melted chocolate mixture and fold gently with a rubber spatula to combine.

Add in the egg white mixture and fold gently to combine, trying not to deflate the mixture.

Scoop into eight 1/2 cup glasses and refrigerate at least 2 -3 hours till set.

Brush raspberries with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Arrange on mousses before serving.

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Oooh...I have those same cups...they are so cute... so perfect for mousse!!

These look absolutely lovely! Nice work. I love mousse and have been trying to play with more flavors lately, but I've only done caramel and chocolate.

enjoy NYC! I'll check back on you from Japan :)

This mousse sounds delicious!

I can't wait to hear about your time in NYC - I'm going in May and would love to hear some recommendations!

Good to hear from you! I love the look and sound of the mousse - cinnamon and star anise a fantastic combination! Look forward to hearing more about the book!

Good to hear from you! I love the look and sound of the mousse - cinnamon and star anise a fantastic combination! Look forward to hearing more about the book!

i like spices in eating chocolate, so a mousse incorporating these ingredients just seems heavenly.

hope everything in NYC is going well. i bet i would be sugared out if i was there too! can't wait for u to be back to share ur adventures with us. take care. ;)

that looks divine! I just can't imagine how much more you'll entice us with your book Anita!:)

Enjoy NYC! Your mousse looks so very luscious!

yum! i've made spicy mousse with cayenne and cinnamon, but i've never used this combo of spices. consider this bookmarked!

I am glad you are having a great time in NYC! Sounds like you are getting the sweet treatment:) I can't wait to hear more about th book. So fun!

Mmmm spiced chocolate mousse - sounds delicious

Those cups are so cute! I'd love to get my hands on some. Can you tell me where to get them?

Just beautiful little mousses. I hope you are having fun in NYC.

Spiced Chocolate mousse, yum. I love Mexican chocolate so this sounds delicious.

The cups are adorable and the mousse sounds to die for! Looks like we were on the same page with mousse this week. How come I am not surprised?!!

Sounds divine, nothing like some lightly spiced mousse

Gorgeous little pots!

Love this! Can't wait to try. And where in the world did you find those darling little ramekins? My dear friend is getting married and these would be a perfect wedding gift. Thanks!

i'm so glad you had such a fantastic time in nyc and that i was able to enjoy the sugar high with you!! have a safe, restful trip home and i can't wait to read about the adventures i missed out on :)

What a cute container!

Congrats on the book and enjoy NY! The Mousse looks amazing! great photos!

I will have to make these next time I have people over for dinner, Anita!

those look gorgeous! i posted about a chocolate-mousse-gone-wrong today but yours look like they're just perfect!

Wow, that sounds great! I love chocolate mousse, I'll have to try this.

this looks like pure yum :)

Another beautiful post. I have the same flower ramequins. Aren't they lovely? Another gorgeous photo!

This looks amazing! Can I second the request for the source of the ramekins? The effect is lovely.

Ah, never mind, I ended up finding them at Crate & Barrel as "Blossom Cups." Thanks!

please let me know where I can find the mini ramekins for the mousse.

thanks so much

Love the photos, and the chocolate mousses looks amazing! i'll try this on my own. Congratulations.

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