Chocolate Bliss - Nick Malgieri's Frozen Chocolate Mousse

Frozen Chocolate Mousse, recipe by Nick Malgieri

Standing in my kitchen, there are moments when I take that tentative first bite, and in an uncontrollable urge, blurt, "DAMN! I made that?!"

Yes, I talk to myself.

And when a showstopper passes my lips -- it's duly noted.

But when the showstopper turns out to be my own?

Astonishment is more like it.

Case in point: Nick Malgieri's Frozen Chocolate Mousse.

For months, I have been on the hunt for a flavorful, do ahead dessert. My criteria was simple: I wanted something that's not too complicated, travels well and presents beautifully.

My friends, the search is over.

I put this frozen chocolate mousse together in no time. Whip the cream, melt chocolate and butter, melt sugar and egg whites, and whip them. Combine. Badda bing, badda bam! Scoop the mixture into your vessel (for me, it was a 4" cake pan with a removable bottom) and freeze. Couldn't have been easier.

The moment of truth came when I tried to get it out of the pan. I used a hot knife and ran it around the sides. The entire cake pan took a quick dip in warm water, and poof, the mousse came out cleanly. (Once it's removed from the pan, a warm off-set spatula or knife will smooth out any rough edges.)

I know the recipe says it's a frozen mousse, but after snapping a few photos, it held its shape beautifully even after it warmed up. I liked the texture closer to room temperature, which works perfectly for the holidays. Pull this out of the freezer as you walk out the door...and there's no need to worry about a having a melting mess on the way to grandma's house.

This recipe works for me on so many levels. It's easy, gluten free, I usually have all the ingredients on hand, it travels well, tastes great, and once you get the turkey out of the freezer, there's plenty of room in there. Here in the States, refrigerated space is always at a premium November - January. No worries, you won't be needing it!

Now, on with a little food porn:

See that rough edge? If my knife was hotter, the cut would have been clean. But I was a wee bit impatient, and frankly, I had no intention of blogging about this. I also had no idea it would be this good!

Garnish treatments are endless, but I opted for a simple chocolate curl. My peeler is from Sur La Table and it has a serrated edge, creating those nice ridges on the chocolate curls. (Note: I love this peeler. In the store, they demonstrated that you could remove the thin skin of a red pepper with it. Not that I'd peel a pepper like that, but it's sharp enough to do the job and works like a charm! Definitely one of my favorite tools.)

This is the richest and easiest to make of delicious frozen chocolate desserts. It rivals the best chocolate ice cream.
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup egg whites (from about 5 large eggs)
1 1/2 cups sugar
Cocoa powder or chocolate shavings for finishing
One 9-inch springform pan or other stainless steel mold

1. Place the 9-inch springform pan or other stainless steel mold in the freezer. Whip cream to a soft peak and refrigerate until needed.
2. Melt both chocolates over hot water, remove from heat and work in butter; set aside.
3. Combine egg whites and sugar in bowl of electric mixer; and place over pan of simmering water. Whisk gently until egg whites are hot and sugar is dissolved. Use an electric mixer to beat until cooled and increased in volume.
4. Quickly fold together chocolate mixture and meringue. Taste a spoonful to make sure the mixture is not any warmer than room temperature. If it is, let it cool for a few minutes before folding in the whipped cream or the cream will melt and separate.
5. Scrape into frozen springform pan or mold and smooth the top with an offset metal spatula. cover tightly with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight before serving.
6. To unmold, have a chilled platter ready. Dip a small, thin knife in hot water and run it around the inside of the pan to loosen dessert. Unbuckle side of springform and remove. Cover dessert with the chilled platter, invert, then lift off pan bottom. Dust very lightly with cocoa immediately before serving or stick chocolate shavings all over top and sides of mousse. Return to freezer until time to serve.
This is great with a rich chocolate sauce or some crushed, sweetened berries.
Yields: About 1 1/2 quarts mousse

Note: I halved the recipe, which is why I used the 4" cake pan with the removable bottom. Unless you're serving a crowd, I'd opt to do half the recipe again. Keep the slices small. This is definitely a rich dessert.