Chocolate. One of the foods I could not live without. Along with cheese, wine and water (probably in that order). And though everyday, week and month should involve chocolate, February, the month of love, is THE month to celebrate chocolate. Typically, I love chocolate on it’s own, unpaired. There are a few exceptions – including cream, peanut butter, and citrus. I especially love the freshness and lightness that citrus flavors add to chocolate. And citrus makes me think of summer – and all of us in New England need all the sunny summer thoughts we can get at this point in the winter.
This Dark Chocolate Mousse with Orange Zest marries chocolate, cream AND citrus – combining 2 of my 3 chocolate pairings. And it’s a very special recipe as my mother-in-law, Coral, discovered this treasure in a British newspaper while living in San Paulo, Brazil in the ’70s (see image below). During that time in Brazil, there was extreme censorship under the authoritative military dictatorship. Any newspaper article deemed controversial or unfavorable to the government was replaced with a recipe or poem. This made getting the local news a bit challenging and interesting. Coral has made additions and edits to this recipe throughout the years, which makes this family recipe a special and unique treat.
To keep with the family tradition, I made a few minor changes as well, including using dark chocolate chips, decreasing the sugar and using both the orange zest and orange extract for a robust citrusy flavor. This is a decadent, creamy, chocolately and citrusy dessert that’s perfect for any special occasion.
When I read the theme for this month’s Recipe ReDux, I knew this dark chocolate mousse would fit the bill perfectly: Favorite Chocolate Matches. Does your chocolate need a friend? This month’s posting will be after Valentine’s Day, so you may have a bit of extra chocolate around. What’s your favorite chocolate match? Be it traditional peanut butter or something more exotic like cayenne + chocolate. Show us your favorite healthy chocolate combo recipe.
Well, here it is!
Here’s how to make it:
Dark Chocolate Mousse with Orange Zest
Time: 35-40 minutes plus 2-3 hours refrigeration time
- 12 oz (1 package) dark chocolate chips
- 4 Tbs sugar
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream plus 4 Tbs for thinning chocolate
- Grated zest from 1 orange
- 1 tsp orange essence
Directions: Chill bowl for whipping cream. Gently melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot water (or melt in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each heating until melted and smooth). Thin with 3 Tbs of cream, add vanilla, orange extract and orange zest (reserving a bit for topping), and beat until relatively smooth and less stiff. If still really stiff, add a little more cream to thin a bit (I added 1 more tablespoon) . Remove from heat and cool slightly. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and add sugar gradually. Beat for a little longer until you have a firm meringue. Fold one heaping Tbs of meringue mix into chocolate to lighten it then add chocolate to meringue, folding it in carefully. Whip cream in a chilled bowl. Save a little for topping the mousse and to the rest add the chocolate-meringue mix and fold together gently. Spoon mousse into individual bowls or sherbet glasses and refrigerate for at least 2 – 3 hours. Before serving, top each glass with a dollop of whipped cream, bit of orange zest plus a shaving of dark chocolate (if desired).
**special thank you to Coral for sharing this special family recipe**