Friday, May 13, 2011

Iron Chef Montana, Battle: Chocolate Mousse

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
It started funnily enough as part of a regular dinner conversation about desserts that we considered the best that we've ever had. A chocolate mousse in France was mentioned and my mind started whirling with the thought" I bet I could knock that mousse down!" Vincent, my boss at Emory once remarked that it only takes a single mention of a dish and it will grow on me like a weed and before you know it, you'll be at my apartment a week later feasting on the very same dish that was unwittingly mentioned. He was right, as always. Thus, as further proof of this failing, the chocolate mousse battle was born. 

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
For the competition, I initially thought of my usual three layered mousse as my contender but I decided to whip up a newer discovery to bring home the spoils of food war. I know I have made this chocolate-glazed hazelnut mousse before but I cannot find any trace of its existence other than a copy of the recipe in my computer. This recipe was, by the way, a happy accident and was discovered while browsing through for mousse recipes. Originally featured at Gourmet magazine in February of 2006, it had been on hiatus in my recipe folder until last year.

*Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse - Adapted from Gourmet Magazine via


2 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted and skins rubbed off
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Invert bottom of springform pan (to  
    make it easier to slide shortbread base off bottom), then lock on side
    of pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper.

2. Pulse hazelnuts with sugar in a food processor until nuts are finely  
    chopped. Add flour, butter, cocoa, and salt and pulse just until a     dough forms.

3. Press dough evenly onto bottom of springform pan with your fingers. 
    Prick all over with a fork, then bake until just dry to the touch, about 
    18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely. Remove side of pan and carefully  
    slide out parchment from under shortbread, then reattach side of pan     around shortbread base.


2 tsp unflavored gelatin
6 tbsp cold water
1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread such as Nutella
1 cup mascarpone
3 cups chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tablespoons sugar 


1/2 cup heavy cream
10 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (or semisweet chocolate), chopped

1. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a bowl and let stand until softened,  
    about 5 minutes. Heat gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring, just  
    until gelatin is melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk in chocolate hazelnut     spread until combined and remove from heat.

2. Whisk together mascarpone and chocolate hazelnut mixture in a large     bowl. 

3. Beat together cream, cocoa powder, and sugar in another large bowl  
    with an electric mixer at low speed until just combined, then  
    increase speed to high and beat until cream just holds soft peaks. 

4. Whisk one third of whipped cream into mascarpone mixture  
    to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream until well  
    combined. Spoon filling onto shortbread base in pan, gently smoothing     top, then chill, covered, at least 3 hours.

5. Bring cream to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan and remove from  
    heat. Pour over chocolate and let stand 1 minute, then gently whisk
    until completely melted and smooth. Cool ganache by stirring     occasionally, until slightly thickened but still pourable, about 20 

6. Run a warm thin knife around inside of springform pan, then remove  
    side. Slide cake off bottom of pan and transfer to a serving plate.  
    Pour ganache onto top of cake and spread, allowing excess ganache to     drip down sides. 

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
To follow up on the chocolate mousse battle, it was decided by the panel of six overstuffed judges that the two contenders were way too different for them to really make an informed and unbiased judgement so it was declared that both were winners. The only losers were the six of us trying to digest way too much food on a Sunday night. We had Polpette in Umido (Meatballs in Broth) and Gnocchi in Ragu with Italian Sausage prior to the contest (both recipes will be made available soon). All in all, it was a great night for a friendly throwdown. Next on the list is dinner ala Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern.  Beef tongue anyone?

1 comment:

  1. "I bet I could knock that mousse down!" - winner!!!... hahaha... :-D