Greek word for chocolate means 'food of the gods'
Chocolate is made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree. In the Mayan language, it is pronounced "kakaw," and in Greek, it is called "Theobroma," which means "food of the gods."
The cacao plant originates in the Amazon and is widely planted in the areas of Central and Meso America. The Spanish were the first to introduce chocolate to Europe.
Chocolate mousse became popular in the 1960s. The main ingredients used are chocolate, egg yolks, egg whites, sugar and various kinds of liquor.
At Café Collage, I use Callebaut, one of the finest Belgian dark chocolates.
• CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Yield: Six servings
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I use Callebaut Belgian chocolate)
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract
1/2 cup espresso coffee, divided use
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, divided use
6 egg whites
1/2 cup heavy cream
Heat 2 inches of water (the hot water bath works to melt the chocolate) in a large skillet over low heat and maintain the same temperature throughout (keep adding hot water as it evaporates). Combine in a large stainless steel bowl the chocolate, butter, vanilla extract, almond extract and 1/4 cup espresso.
Set the bowl in the hot water bath and stir the mixture until the chocolate melts completely and becomes smooth and thick. Remove bowl from the hot water bath and set aside.
In another stainless steel bowl, combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup espresso and 1/4 cup sugar. Whisk the mixture and set the bowl in the hot water bath. Whisk constantly until the mixture is fluffy (three to five minutes). Remove the mixture from the hot water bath and whisk thoroughly into the melted chocolate. Set aside.
In a food processor, put the egg whites and add gradually 1/4 cup sugar until the mixture becomes stiff. Stir the egg whites into the melted chocolate mixture.
In the food processor, add heavy cream and process until firm. Combine cream with the chocolate mixture. At this point, the chocolate mousse should be silky and smooth.
Prepare six serving cups (6- to 8-ounce size) or tall martini glasses and turn in the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate mousse for at least two to four hours. Serve it with whipped cream (recipe follows).
• WHIPPED CREAM
In a food processor, put 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon sugar. While processing, gradually add 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses and continue to process until cream is firm.