"The only bubble in the flat champagne of February is Valentine’s Day. It was no accident that our ancestors pinned Valentine’s Day on February’s shirt: he or she lucky enough to have a lover in frigid, antsy February has cause for celebration, indeed."
-Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
This Valentine's Day, feel free to project your wants and desires on mousse. The creamy smooth dessert can be whatever you want it to be, dressed up with various flavorings and garnished to suit your taste pefectly - a match made in heaven. Me + mousse = love.
The dessert is just as happy to be flavored by another spirit in lieu of the Kahlua listed. To riff the flavors of a Terry's Milk Chocolate Orange Ball, you could opt for Grand Marnier. Spiced Rum could be an interesting choice. If you would prefer not to use alcohol, personalize flavor by using extracts such as almond or peppermint. Start with 1/2 teaspoon, taste, and continue to add little bit by little bit until you think the flavor is perfect.
Linda balked at the idea of mousse made with tofu. Sounds awful, is what I think she said. All I can say is that tasting is believing.
Thankfully, the mousse can be made a full day in advance. Spoon individual servings into pretty glasses. Martini glasses, with or without stems, work well. I line the glasses like little soldiers on a tray and cover with plastic wrap until ready to garnish. If you whip heavy cream, it keeps well without weeping so you can decorate servings in advance of your guests arriving. As Dorie Greenspan writes, "You don't have to stop there - mousse is delicious with fresh berries, chocolate shavings, crushed candied nuts, nut brittle, or even pulverized Heath Bar bits." A drizzle of fruit sauce, in particular raspberry, is nice as well.
Kahlua Spiked Chocolate Mousse Made With Tofu
This recipe is based on a Cooking Light Magazine recipe. I've changed the porportions and added Kahlua for coffee undertones and vanilla extract for an extra note of flavor. The silken tofu replaces whole eggs and heavy cream in traditional recipes for chocolate mousse, making this a lower-in-calorie-and-fat alternative. I do not particularily care for fat-free whipped topping so I opt for the real thing, homemade whipping cream as a garnish.
The original recipe called for semisweet chocolate chips. I recently read a report that cited both Cook's Illustrated and Gourmet magazine concluded that for baking, Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate from Belgium has the best all around flavor. Sadly, it can be difficult to find. Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar is a close second and easier to find.
2 12.3-oz pkgs Mori-Nu Silken Extra-Firm Tofu
2 4-oz pkgs Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate
1/4 cup Kahlua
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
grated orange peel, optional
grated chocolate or chocolate shavings, options for garnish
fresh raspberries, optional for garnish
1. In a food processor, fitted with a steel blade, and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until completely smooth.
2. With a large serrated knife, cut chocolate bars into uniform small pieces. Place chocolate into a glass bowl, and microwave at 60 second intervals, and stirring thoroughly each time, until chocolate is just melted. Be careful, chocolate can burn easily in the microwave.
3. Add chocolate to the beaten tofu and mix until well combined. Add Kahlua and vanilla extract and mix again.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
4. In a small saucepan, fitted with a candy thermometer, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 238°F. Immediately begin pouring hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, while beating - again at high speed.
5. Add half of beaten egg whites to chocolate-tofu mixture in food processor. Quickly process with on-off pulses until the eggs whites disappear. Add rest of egg whites, quickly pulse again.
6. Spoon 1/2 to 3/4 cup mousse into glasses or custard cups. Cover and chill 4 hours, or overnight.