Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chocolate Mousse


The problem with being exiled as a nomad for two years after graduation is that home, besides being that place I grew up in Mesa, Arizona, becomes here.  The place where I finished growing up.  The place where, after 4 years and many late night, freezing walks home, I almost figured out how to live in snow.  The place where I met many friends and met the boy.  And, oh yeah, the place where I got my education and engineering degree.  You know, home. 

I'm back on campus for a few days to help out at the career fair and be the best little company representative that I can be.  It's a strange feeling to be back, in the middle of the school week, walking around campus.  Just like while in school, it is almost to easy to forget where you are at.  And then, walking home after an exam, or walking the long way to the dining hall on the other side of campus because your friends hate the one on your side, you look up and see it.  The dome.  And please excuse me if I'm sounding corny or overly nostalgic or annoyingly Notre Dame obsessed, but you see it and you remember that you are home. 

Except now, I'm only a visitor, only here for a few days.  I'm home, but armed with the knowledge that in a day's time, I'll be back to living a life with shallow roots, only returning here for football weekends, drunken reunions and apparently, career fairs.  I'm envious of the kids around me, walking home to their dorm rooms, stressing about the career fair and trying to decide whether or not they are driving up to Michigan this weekend for the first away game of the season.  I am fully aware that college can't last forever, but I would have been ok with it going on another year or so.  The real world is still bumming me out.  Which is why it's so good to be home.

It's also fitting that what I was planning on writing about today, before I got all nostalgic, contemplative and generally whiny, was chocolate mousse.  A dessert I learned to make in the downstairs kitchen of North Dining hall and a dessert that was almost always present at our fancy, postgame candlelight dinners.  Chocolate Mousse.  The Notre Dame chefs put on some cooking classes during the school year.  If you could get a committed group of 10 or 12 students, they would put on one for your club or dorm, free of cost.  A favorite was always the death by chocolate class, which I attended twice and during which you learned to make truffles, the world's best brownies, and always chocolate mousse.  I broke out the recipe two weekends ago when Ben was in the Haute visiting. 

I'm going to let you in on a little secret now: chocolate mousse is easy.  And, when you plate it right, it's also downright impressive and everyone will think it took much more effort than it actually did.  All you need is a pastry tip and a pretty serving glass.  Or, if you're like me, a Ziploc baggy and cheap margarita glasses.  And voilà!  You have just rocked dessert. 

Chocolate Mousse
From the Notre Dame Kitchen

1.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 c. heavy cream
6 Tbsp. granulated sugar (3/8 cup)

Melt chocolate in double broiler.  Remove from heat while a few lumps still remain, and stir until smooth.

In chilled metal bowl, combine cream and sugar.  Mix with electric mixer fitted with a chilled balloon whip(s) on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Take 1/3 of whipped cream and whip thoroughly into melted chocolate.  Fold remaining whipped cream into chocolate mixture, working quickly so chocolate bits don't form in the cream.

Pipe into desired serving dishes and chill for 2 hours, up to overnight.  If not serving soon, store in airtight containers in the refrigerator. 


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