Failure in small doses: My light white chocolate and lime mousse.

by cookingbrains09

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This recipe is a disaster. It really is, at least from an outcome oriented point of view. I spent around 5 hours on it, sacrificed one kg of white chocolate, 4 limes and used 750 mls of cream just to end up with a small cup of rather grainy mousse. Well done. But from a process-oriented point of view, it was quite a success. I learned a lot about chocolate, cream and myself. And I am willing to share, which is all that counts, right? And luckily I did end up with a rather nice recipe, for a divinely delicious light and fluffy white chocolate and lime mousse.

I don’t even know where to start really. I had quite high hopes when I started making this mousse. My initial plan was to mix up some sweet melted white chocolate, to which I wanted to add lime juice and zest, and a few dollops of sour cream as a base for the mousse and to then fluff things up a bit with whipped cream. This did not work out. At all.

01/18/2013 12am – Getting started:

My mood is very up. I am excited even. I have been working quite hard in the last weeks and now that my last exam is over, I feel like treating me to something. I have been looking forward to making this mousse ever since the start of the exam-period. So after handing in my answer-sheet I drive to the market straight-away. I get the nicest, juiciest limes from my favourite organic green grocer, you know, the one with no golden beet-root. The rest of the shopping was done in a second, 600 grams of white chocolate and a cup of good old sour cream.

01/18/2013 2pm – Attempt 1: When impatience strikes.

I turn on the big stove, to bring a pan of water to the boil, highest heat. To this I am adding a bowl with 300 grams of white chocolate. Things start melting quite nicely. I add the grated zest of two lemons. Things start to smell quite nice. I feel succesful and a bit adventurous, so I add a squeeze of lime-juice to the bowl, what harm can it do? It turns out – quite a lot. The mass instantly starts to scramble (this is called seizing as I will find out later). I am panicking and try to rescue my scrambled chocolate by adding a few tea-spoons of butter, I forgot that the water was still boiling so that the butter heats up quite nicely and give a lovely fry to the chocolate left-overs in my pan. Well done, really.

01/18/2013 3pm – Attempt 2: So you think you can melt?

The heat, it must have been the heat. What else could it have been? I figure that the chocolate must have split. So, cold water to a pan, smallest stove, very low heat. I add 300 grams of chocolate to the bowl and melt it very carefully. I carefully add one teaspoon of sour cream to the bowl in order to slowly, just very gradually add 100 grams of cream to the chocolate, to prevent it from going all solid again, so that I can add the whipped cream later. Huge mistake. Attempt 1 all over again. I go online and have a look at google. Seizing, that’s what happened, twice. Apparently when melted chocolate is contaminated with just the tiniest amount of water, it starts to seize (scramble up). Great.

01/18/2013 6pm – Attempt 3: You don’t need to know everything, you just need to know where to look it up.

I am fed up with this mousse. It can’t be that hard to make it, especially since I have already made quite nice mousse in the past. I just don’t remember how I did it. What I do remember however, is that I have encountered the same problems before, but apparently not learned from that experience. I looked up a recipe and followed it more than just roughly. First I needed more chocolate, so off to the supermarket it was again. Gently melting the chocolate, 200 grams this time. I might have been a bit fanatic about preventing any moisture to contaminate the chocolate. The recipe required some egg yolks to be whisked with sugar til fluffy and to be added to the chocolate. I was in agony. The chocolate started to seize again. But I was not giving up on this one. Slowly adding and incorporating more and more of the eggs I ended up with a gooey mass. Better than nothing. And in the end my mousse did turn out quite nice. Very nice in fact.

The only problem with this mousse was, that I was too delicious. I (aided by friends) ended up eating all of it, with nothing left for taking pictures. So the next morning I made some new mousse. And I though I was being all sneaky when I substituted the egg yolks with whites and tried to infuse the cream with lemon-zest by slowly heating it. The end result is the slightly grainy mousse you see on the picture. So what you see is not what you get. My more succesful mousse is based on this recipe. I can reassure you, this is not over yet.

A light white chocolate and lime mousse

serves six.

200 grams of white chocolate
The zest of one lime
500 ml of whipping cream
about 50 g of sugar
3 eggs

  1. Add the roughly chopped chocolate to bowl over steaming warm water, make sure not to heat it up too much. Let it gently melt by stirring every now and then.
  2. Split the eggs and beat the yolks with 25 g of sugar until they are very fluffy and turned distinctively paler.
  3. Gradually add the chocolate to the yolks. The original recipe asks the reverse thing (to add the yolks to the chocolate) but this increases the danger of seizing. By gradually working in little by little of the chocolate, you prevent it from seizing and it incorporates nicely (this is a bit like making mayonnaise, add very little at first and increase the amount of chocolate after a while).
  4. Add the lime-zest to the egg-chocolate mix. If you want to prevent zest in your mousse, chop them very finely or dry them for a couple of hours and grind finely using a mortar).
  5. Whisk the egg-whites with about 10-15 g of sugar( the original recipe asks for 25 grams, but this make the mousse very sweet – however you need some sugar to make the meringue more resistant). Gently fold half of the stiff egg-white into the chocolate mass. Add the second half in an equally careful manner.
  6. Whip the cream and carefully fold it into the bowl, do this in two batches.
  7. Fill in little bowls or cups and let the mousse set in the fridge.