Saturday, April 23, 2005

Like water for chocolate

Today, in a kitchen far far away from The Fat Duck, I made a chocolate mousse. Dense, bitter, rich, this mousse was made from Valhrona Manjari chocolate and just one other ingredient; water. "eek!! Gasp!! isn't water chocolates enemy?" you might be thinking. Well, yes. Any one who has done any work with chocolate will tell you that the entire batch will be ruined by just one drop of the stuff off the bottom of your bain marie bowl (or one tear because it's your 5th try and it still isn't in temper). The water will cause the chocolate to sieze up and stiffen.

Interestingly enough, it is for this reason that water is adventageous to turning mere chocolate into a mousse. You simply start whipping this stiffening chocolate just like a whipped cream. Because of this stiffness, the chocolate is now capable of holding the air. So simple really.

And for the flavor? It tastes exactly like the chocolate used. No cream to smother the pallate means a much cleaner reception on the tounge. We used a bitter chocolate of 70 % cocoa solids from madagascar. It was extremely fruity, a quality that might have been lost next to cream.

The recipe is credited to Dr. Herve This, and apears in a book titled "Family Food" written by Heston Blumenthal.

Off the top of my head, the recipe is
270 ml. water
350 grams chocolate.

Melt the chocolate and water in a pot on the stove.

Transter the chocolate to a bowl fitted inside an ice bath and whisk. It should start to thicken and whip like cream as the temperature drops below chocolates setting point.

I found it to be thick, stiff, and intensely chocolate. It might be a little less so with a milk chocolate or a white chocolate. While it feels stiff to the spoon, it disolves in your mouth like a cloud.

It was served along side a sweet orange syrup that had been used to candy orange peel. The orange peel was lost in the oven, but just the syrup was enough really.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Heston made the same Mousse in his TV Show "Kitchen Chemistry" and i tried it as well. I also added Demi Sel butter which gives the Choc a little "extra" touch. I forgot to ask you to say hello to Dan (your Housemate)and the other Girl who´s name i can´t remember, sorry. Is Dan teaching you "English" ?

All the best,

April 23, 2005 3:36 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

The butter is a good tip, thanks. And yes, Dan is teaching me english as a second languange, american being my first.

April 24, 2005 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Chocolate man said...

Hi, if I use 400 grams chocolate (which is 4 packs) than how much water should I use? and how much Butter?

I really want to try it, I want to try this with a whipped cream and some fruits.... :-)


October 20, 2007 4:51 AM  
Anonymous Chocolate man said...

IT DIDN'T WORK..... :-(

I used 1.5 small glass of water (should be about 300 ml.) and a 400 grams chocolate (with 40% cocoa)

I Melted the chocolate and water in a pot on the stove, and I did exactly as explained, but the mixture stayed very fluid and liquid, even after 15 minutes of whisking and cooled it didn't got thicken..... so I just throw it to the sink :-(

What had I done wrong?

Why didn't it work?

Thanks! :-(

October 20, 2007 10:00 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Chocolate man- You didn't follow the recipe, it must be exact, or it won't work.

1.5 small glases is not an exact measure, and 40 percent chocolate is not interchangeable with 70 percent chocolate.

Try again with exactly the amount given, and use the correct chocolate.

To read about it further try this link.

October 20, 2007 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Chocolate man said...

Hi Dana & Thanks very much!

(By the way isn't Dana an Israely name? are you from Israel?)

I didn't expect such a fast answer :-) the last post here was in 2005.... a long time ago....

About the recipe, it's only says 350 grams chocolate it doesn't say that it should be 70 percent chocolate.... you also said that it was Off the top of your head so I thought it can be a little less or a little more.... in the recipe here the ratio between the water and the chocolate is 0.77, the ratio in my mixture is about 0.75, almost the same...

I know that small glass should be about 200 ml.

But well.... I will try it again exactly as written in the recipe here.... I hope that it will be OK, when I imagine it I think that it should be the best with a whipped cream and some sweet fruits as a Banana, mulberry, peach and so on.... :-)

I will let you know :-)


October 22, 2007 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Chocolate man said...


Also Check this out -

October 23, 2007 10:55 PM  

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