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Very Chocolate Mousse

Dense and decadent, this ultrarich dessert could be called Chocolate Fool because it tricks everyone into thinking it is laden with egg yolks and whipped cream, rather than pureed tofu. It is so easy to make that you can treat friends and family to it anytime. Look for tofu labeled kinugoshi in Asian food markets and “silken” or “soft silken” tofu in grocery stores. If both silken and soft silken are available, use the latter type. If you are concerned about serving raw egg whites, please see variation at bottom of recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu, at room temperature  
  • 2 tsp. brandy or orange-flavored liqueur  
  • 4 egg whites, preferably pasteurized, at room temperature (see note below)
  • 4 Tbs. sugar 
  • Candied orange peel for garnish (optional; see related recipe at left) 

Directions:

Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over (but not touching) barely simmering water and heat until the chocolate melts, stirring often. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature. (If the chocolate is too warm or the tofu too cold, the mousse will have a grainy texture.)

Place the tofu in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the pureed tofu and brandy into the melted chocolate until well blended. Set aside.

In a bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they are frothy and opaque, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes, then begin gradually adding the sugar, 1 Tbs. at a time. Beat for about 10 seconds to dissolve the addition before adding the next spoonful. When all of the sugar has been added, continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour this lightened mixture over the remaining whites, then fold into the whites just until incorporated. Spoon the mousse into individual dishes, dividing it evenly, or into a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mousse is well chilled, about 3 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with candied orange peel. Serves 4.

Variation: You can use dehydrated egg whites, which will produce a slightly spongier mousse. In an impeccably clean bowl, sprinkle 2 Tbs. egg white powder over 6 Tbs. lukewarm water, then stir for 1 minute. The powder will remain lumpy. Set the bowl aside for 20 minutes, then whip as directed above. Dehydrated whites will take up to 5 minutes more by hand and 3 minutes more by machine to whip to the desired result.

Note: This recipe contains egg whites that are not cooked. They run a risk of being infected with salmonella or other bacteria, which can lead to food poisoning. This risk is of most concern to small children, older people, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system. If you have health and safety concerns, do not consume raw eggs, or seek out a pasteurized egg product to replace them.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).