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Chocolate and water DO mix!
May 13, 2014 5:56 PM   Subscribe


 
Tip: Sometimes it takes a few minutes longer but it will come together and when it does it happens quickly, so be careful not to over-beat the mixture.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:58 PM on May 13


Some good tips and images here. You can reheat and whisk again if you mess it up.

Gonna have to try this. Yum.
posted by iotic at 6:21 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Just make sure the chocolate you use is more than 70% cocoa solids. (Higher than that would be even better.) Otherwise you will whisk and whisk and whisk and whisk and nothing will happen.
posted by asterix at 6:29 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Interesting. I'm at work and can't listen to the audio--does he say anything about using a electric mixer? That would be a lot easier I think.
posted by zardoz at 6:34 PM on May 13


The blogger at iotic's link said she used a hand mixer with a whisk beater.
posted by briank at 6:49 PM on May 13


That chocolate looks so good, but those closeups made me uncomfortable.
posted by Brainy at 9:52 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


The shit about this is now I can't impress any MetaFilter friends with my chocolate fu. Thanks, asshole.
posted by invitapriore at 10:13 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


We should test that out, just to be sure.
posted by bleep at 10:37 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Just make sure the chocolate you use is more than 70% cocoa solids.

The chocolate he used looked like good milk chocolate, which is typically 25-40%.

Edit: the recipe linked above uses dark chocolate, so maybe I'm wrong.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:38 PM on May 13


I tried this some time ago with cooking chocolate. It didn't work - I spent a good fifteen to twenty minutes whisking (with a few breaks towards the end) and it just wouldn't gel.

I made it into something that wasn't just watery chocolate by adding some gelatine, but I wouldn't call it a success. So don't use cooking chocolate for this one. If that wasn't already obvious.
posted by YAMWAK at 11:20 PM on May 13


I'm going to quibble with the YouTube description, which says " It was invented by a French chemist named Dr. Herve This."

Technically, his name is "Hervé This".

It may not seem like much, the little accent over the e, but those of us who care about subtle things really do care about these subtle things.

I pride myself on my gastronomic sensibility. To me, gastronomy is just one letter away from astronomy. It's a cosmic thing. So getting one tiny detail wrong is the difference between This and That.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:42 AM on May 14


I found this 76% cocoa solids cooking chocolate the other day, £1.39 for 150g! Worked out alright as a chocolate topping to vegan coconut and cranberry flapjack with a cookie butter layer beneath the chocolate.
posted by asok at 2:04 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


My favorite mousse is Elizabeth David's. It's not much more difficult; its texture is wonderful; and it tastes so, so good.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:13 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Technically, his name is "Hervé This"...I pride myself on my gastronomic sensibility.

I'm going to assume you were trying to do one of those 'Condescending Wonka' things but didn't realise you can't use the [img] tag here.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:38 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Heston Blumenthal is a wizard! Burn him!

(Well, don't because then I won't get to eat at his restaurants.)
posted by Kitteh at 3:41 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I have made this mousse a few times and I love it. Indeed, the main points are using dark chocolate and being prepared to melt and start again. The texture should be smooth, not grainy. The mousse is dense and intense, so it's not necessary to make huge amount IME. It makes a nice after dessert sweet, with coffee or tea or armagnac.
posted by anzen-dai-ichi at 4:18 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


i don't think i've ever seen him with hair. i don't recognise him.
posted by thingonaspring at 5:08 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I've done this as a side-effect of making milk-less hot chocolate.
Boiling water + dark chocolate + spices + blender = instant delicious hot drink.
Incredibly rich, so nobody finishes a full mug. The cooled down leftovers = bonus yummy chocolate mousse!
posted by HFSH at 5:14 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I've done this a bunch, it's pretty magical and delicious.

First, as noted above the ultra close up is creepy as hell, second, he uses a glass bowl, I've found a steel bowl works much better, conducts the heat away more efficiently and makes the process faster/easier.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:02 AM on May 14


"It's delicious because there's no cream in it" makes no sense at all.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:29 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


"It's delicious because there's no cream in it" makes no sense at all.

Came to say that myself. Everything was fine, then that remark, as if ganache wasn't the nicest thing anyone ever did with cow squeezin's.
posted by Goofyy at 9:50 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


My lactose-hating intestines and I are SOOOO glad to learn about this recipe.
posted by briank at 12:33 PM on May 14


Success! I used a bag of Nestle's dark chocolate we had laying around. 53% cacao.
posted by chinesefood at 4:28 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Tried it last night with a 55 g Ghana Black bar and about 40–50 mL of water but it just didn't come together into anything more than basically a sauce, despite 10–15 minutes of whipping until my arm was sore. Dunno if the chocolate just wasn't dark enough, or if the bowl wasn't cold enough, or what. Admittedly, I started it out by melting room-temperature chocolate in 90°C water instead of heating in a saucepan, so maybe that had something to do with it?
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:30 PM on May 14


"It's delicious because there's no cream in it" makes no sense at all.

Sure it does. Like he said as he finished off that sentence, it makes the cocoa flavour more intense.

I've made something similar with cocoa, coconut oil, and bit of honey. Also tried it with egg, like a more traditional moose. Both were yummy.

Recently, I've been mixing raw cocoa with coconut yogurt and honey. I think it would make a good base for a dairy-free frozen yogurt.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 2:21 AM on May 15


"It's delicious because there's no cream in it" makes no sense at all.

It makes perfect sense, and in fact touches on the ideas at the very heart of 'molecular gastronomy' (oh god how I hate that term): purity of flavour.

Ganache is, indeed, a wondrous thing. But the cream dilutes the flavour of the chocolate.

Admittedly, I started it out by melting room-temperature chocolate in 90°C water instead of heating in a saucepan, so maybe that had something to do with it?

This reminds me of those comments on epicurious or similar sites where people say "Well I didn't have this so I substituted with that, and my oven only goes to 400, and I substituted this other thing. Recipe tastes bad, one star."

When a chef like Blumenthal (or Adria or Achatz or Dufresne or or or) gives you a recipe, you need to follow it to the letter until you understand it; Adria used to spend six months of every year doing nothing but research. Blumenthal has a fully equipped test/research kitchen behind The Fat Duck. Achatz and Dufresne do their research in the restaurant kitchens, usually in the mornings AFAIK. Redzepi does the same thing.

Hervé This does nothing but research into food science all day every day. Also, he should have been given much more credit; he invented this technique back in the early 90's, though he called it a chocolate Chantilly as opposed to a mousse.

Chefs (and food scientists) like this don't provide recipes that haven't been lengthily and exhaustively tested, refined, tested again, refined again, etc. Their recipes aren't like your standard cookbooks where you can futz around; they are extremely specific in how and why they work.

Also, you really do need electric appliances to help you with this, because of shear speed. Shear is the action of cutting through the liquid in order to (depending on exactly what you are doing) add air bubbles (mousse), cause fats to start attaching to each other in specific ways (e.g. whipped cream), or disperse additives through liquid (e.g. gelling agents). Even if you have arms like Rambo, your shear speed is not going to be fast enough for this particular application. Shear speed is less important in something like whipped cream (which anyone with half-decent speed can do by hand in about three minutes) or meringue (five minutes), but it's very important when you're dealing with a recipe as specific as this one. If you want to test this at home, put 250mL of cream in a bowl, and whip it with an electric beater. Time how long it takes. Then do the same thing by hand, and time how long it takes.

The more times per second that your tools are cutting through the liquid, the higher your shear speed, and the faster you get your desired result. For example, that old wives' tale about not having any yolk in your egg whites or your meringue won't work? That did, in fact, used to be true when there weren't electrically driven machines to do the whipping for you; hand-beating didn't have the shear speed (ahem) necessary to overcome the fats. It is no longer true (and conclusively proven so by Mr This in one of his books; I think it's mentioned in McGee's On Food and Cooking as well), because the shear speed of an electric mixer is orders of magnitude faster than a human hand.

And just as a fun side note, it's a classic kitchen initiation to make the new kid make meringue or Chantilly by hand, and then hold the bowl upside down over Chef's head. Woe be unto you if Chef gets messy.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:14 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Water is an enemy of chocolate

This is indeed nonsense, seeing as how, for the first few thousand years of its consumption was primarily in the form of a drink made from:

- cacao
- water

With various aromatics, seasonings, etc. added to it for extra flavor. If Blumenthal were to change the ratio of chocolate to water and switch the whisking to emulsifying with high pours, he could enjoy a fine, foamy repast fit for a Tlatoani.
posted by Panjandrum at 4:24 PM on May 16


If Blumenthal were to change the ratio of chocolate to water and switch the whisking to emulsifying with high pours, he could enjoy a fine, foamy repast fit for a Tlatoani.

I-incredible... Decantering from such a height...
posted by subversiveasset at 7:01 PM on May 16


Water is an enemy of chocolate

This is indeed nonsense


It's not exactly nonsense. Try melting some chocolate and then putting a few drops of water in; it'll seize, meaning it gets a weird grainy texture. This and Blumenthal got around that problem by manipulation of temperature and physical agitation.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:11 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


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