Brilliant blue sky and crisp cold air inspired my spirit as I ventured North on the Appalachian Trail this morning. My planned turnaround point was route 850 in Perry County but as I crissed crossed the frozen field with the rising sun illuminating the golden yellow grass it was an easy choice to continue on, what was for me, virgin territory. The ridgeline beckoned and I gladly followed its call. Once I reached the top of Cove Mountain; the fact that I had 8.5 miles of trail behind me and a growling stomach that would not be alleviated due to the viscous effect of the 20 degree weather on my homemade energy gel, I came to my senses and turned around.
Later on in the afternoon, unable to reach satiety, I had an urge for something sweet. Seeing as i'm not eating gluten if at all possible chocolate came to mind. While i'm not normally a chocoholic (it's about as unnatural food as you can get) I do enjoy a light, airy chocolate mousse.
The following recipe is adapted from the CIA's book on Baking and Pastry and is not for the faint of heart.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
5oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4oz butter, chopped
3oz egg yolks
1/2 ounce glucose syrup - I used Steen's Cane Syrup and just eyeballed it (and yes I poured out too much)
6oz egg whites
3oz sugar - I screwed up making the Italian Meringue and ended up using 1/2 C. of powdered sugar (1/4 C. would have sufficed)
If you do not have a kitchen scale I suggest going to the grocery store and buying a box of chocolate pudding mix and a container of cool whip and mix it together because if you do not have a kitchen scale you will probably freak out by step three of the process.
Melting the chocolate and butter over simmering water.
More melting. Chocolate and butter can't be all bad.
Mixing the egg yolks and Steen's Cane Syrup.
Egg yolks and syrup over the makeshift double boiler with thermometer to assure pasteurization at 180 degrees (I don't know why I bother with the thermometer as I always cut the cooking time by 10-20 degrees as I don't want to come close to the risk of scrambled eggs.
Tempering the egg mixture with the chocolate mixture.
Egg, syrup, butter, and chocolate mixed and ready.
Second time on the egg whites after a royal screwup with the Italian Meringue. Instead i'm whipping the eggs to soft peaks with powdered sugar over the double boiler.
Folding the egg white combo with the chocolate combo.
Top with some pureed strawberries and you've got yourself a sweet recovery snack, albeit about 5 hours too late for proper recovery.
I wouldn't call this a true chocolate mousse. The final result was pleasant in terms of taste and lightness. The texture was not as airy as I like mousse but rather sticky like a warm chocolate marshmallow. It was a bit sweet which is why I would only use 1/4 cup of powdered sugar......or attempt a proper Italian Meringue for next time (which may eliminate the sticky feel).
Either way I ate three and the fourth and final one is callling my name.