Is nearly a month into January too late to say happy New Year? Since it’s the first time I’m posting in 2018, I’m deciding it’s not. So… Happy New Year!
I know January is usually a time where people are hitting the gym, going sugar free, and working to get healthy after eating all the indulgent holiday foods. And I totally get that. I too am trying to get into a healthy mindset. However, January is also a time for fresh starts and trying new things – and that’s where my new sous vide and today’s recipe for sous vide chocolate mousse enters the picture.
As an adult, I don’t usually get a lot of toys for Christmas. Ok, I did get a stuffed animal… but nowadays my toys are things for the kitchen. I get excited by kitchen gadgets in nearly the same way my nephew got psyched for his train table on Christmas morning. This Christmas, Ryan got me a sous vide machine, which had been the thing I’d been dreaming of and never thought I’d really get. When I opened it, I did a lot of, “no! really?!” and “wow,” and “I never thought I’d have one!” Then obviously, after all the disbelief, I said, “what should I make?!”
Perhaps, here is where I’ve lost you. I’m gushing about a sous vide, and maybe you’re thinking, “Mariel, what’s a sous vide?” Let me explain – and also check out the photo below to see it in action. Sous vide is French (clearly), and means “under vacuum.” Food is placed in a vacuum sealed bag or glass jar and then cooked in a water bath at a low, regulated temperature, for a long time. The sous vide is the mechanism that goes in the water, circulates it, and keeps the water at a consistent temperature.
What makes this thing awesome, because I know it doesn’t sound particularly special, is that the food stays at that consistent temperature. This means, meats, eggs, and other finicky items cook evenly throughout and don’t over cook. Steaks don’t accidentally become well-done on the outside but cold and rare on the inside. With a sous vide, you can make a medium steak perfectly every time because it’s heated at an even temperature all the way through. Egg yolks will stay runny if that’s what you want. And custards will be silky smooth instead of too thick and dense. Maybe you can do this all on the stove or in the oven (but I can’t always!) – and sous vide is also set it and forget it which is awesome for weeknight meals.
This is a gadget that at one point was large, expensive, and only for professional kitchens. Now it’s pretty compact and fairly affordable making it accessible to regular home cooks like me (and you). And since I got mine, I’ve been cooking everything. Steaks, chicken, halibut, shrimp, lobster tail (which I’d never cooked before!), potatoes, and even sous vide chocolate mousse. Everything has been super delicious, easy to clean up (you know I love that!), and fun to make.
What I love about this recipe, is that the mousse is cooked in individual cups. That makes it perfect for gifts or hosting a party. So easy and adorable. Only word of warning, put the mason jars in the water as it heats up so that the glass can come to temperature with the water and that will keep it from breaking.
Once cooked, you’ll need to let it chill but at room temperature the sous vide chocolate mousse is rich in flavor but silky in texture. Cold straight out of the fridge, the mousse is dense and the slightly bitter flavor of dark chocolate is very pronounced. It’s good either way, but best topped with whipped cream. A little bit of crunchy salt sprinkled on top doesn’t hurt either.
I’m enjoying starting the year off with some new culinary adventures. I’ve also got a list of foods I’d like to try making for the first time this year including: linguine with clams, vanilla extract, red pepper and Gouda bisque, and baklava. Any foods you’re going to try this year? And recipe you’d like to see on the blog in 2018? Let me know in the comments below!
Adapted (barely!) from Sous Vide at Home. If you have a sous vide machine, get this book. It’s awesome and the photography is beautiful.
Messy level: While the sous vide machine is easy to clean, and the mousse is made in its serving container, this is a two spoon recipe because you do have to do a little work on the stove before the official cooking begins.
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 4 ounces bitter sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 egg yolks
- whipped cream and flaky sea salt, optional toppings
- 5, 4oz mason jars
- In a small sauce pan, heat the heavy cream to a simmer. Once it is simmering, remove from the heat.
- Whisk the chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and salt into the heavy cream. Whisk until smooth. Make sure you get into the edges of the pan - chocolate likes to get stuck there!
- Add the egg yolks one at a time. Mix each yolk in completely before adding the next yolk. By the end the liquid will be a rich and silky texture.
- For easy pouring, transfer the liquid to a liquid measuring cup or pitcher.
- Pour the chocolate liquid evenly between the mason jars. Put the lid on and tighten so it's snug, but not so tight that it's later going to be impossible to twist off.
- Put your sous vide in a large pot. Add the water until just above the minimum water line. Then, gently place the jars into the pot, making sure they are touching the bottom.
- Set the bath to 176°F/80°C. When the water gets to temperature, cook the chocolate for an additional 1 hour.
- After an hour, use tongs to remove the jars from the water. Place the hot jars on a kitchen towel and let cool slightly (10 minutes). Putting the hot and wet class jar on a cool counter could potentially break the glass, so it's good to put it on a towel first.
- Put the jars in the fridge for 1.5-3 hours. This will help the mousse set fully. If you take it out closer to 1.5 hours the mousse will still be a bit warm, light, and silky. If you let it sit in the fridge longer, the mousse will get cool, denser, and very rich. After 3 hours to get it back to silky and light, just leave the mousse out at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Serve directly from the mason jar with a soon. Feel free to top with whipped cream and/or a sprinkling of flaky sea salt. Also good just plain!