Enjoying a nosh the other night at Ethan Stowell’s impressive new Bar Cotto, my friends and I marveled that the chocolate sorbet bore the creamy texture of gelato, even more than the orange creme gelato did.
“It’s the chocolate,” our server explained. “Good chocolate just does that.”
“It’s like that famous recipe for one-ingredient chocolate mousse, you know, that one from The New York Times,” she continued. (Well it's not that famous, I thought.) “Actually, two ingredients, but the other one is water. You can seriously make great, creamy chocolate mousse from chocolate and water.”
I went home, looked it up, and the next evening I tested it. Damn if she wasn’t right.
Here’s the recipe, printed in February in the Times from something French molecular gastronomist Hervé This dreamed up. It literally involves chopping up three big bars of chocolate (they have to have a cocoa amount of over 70 percent; I used Lindt Excellence Dark) and melting them in a saucepan with a cup of water.
You then pour the liquid chocolate into a bowl that’s been set into a larger bowl of ice, then whisk for several minutes.
My Braun electric whisk got pretty hot and bothered by about minute 7—which was right about the time the bubbling froth in the bowl obligingly and suddenly thickened into a glossy mousse.
It was superrich, the essence of chocolate. So rich, we all opted for pairings. (Me: whipped cream. My daughter: a fresh strawberry. My husband: sea salt.) A two-tablespoon serving at a dinner party would make a just-right classy finisher. If you use chocolate made without added milk, it’s even vegan. I now want to put my own Seattle brand on it by making it with Theo Chocolate, maybe the one with guajillo and pasilla chiles.
Mostly I want to thank that waiter.