Archives March 2021

Ultimate Chocolate Mousse

To celebrate chocolate in its most delectable guises, we asked some of the best cooks—Julia Child, James Beard, Maida Heatter, and more—to share their favorite chocolate recipes. Craig Claiborne, who was the New York Times restaurant critic and one of the top food journalists at the time, shared his remarkable chocolate mousse, which could be reliably whipped up without tremendous effort. In his original headnote for the recipe, Claiborne says, “once in a rare while, I discover a formula for a dish that seems the ultimate, the definitive, the ne plus ultra. I am convinced that the finest chocolate mousse creation ever whipped up in my kitchen is the one printed here. As if you didn’t know, mousse means foam in French. This mousse is the foamiest.” The key to this recipe is to use the very best semisweet dark chocolate you can find—we like Valrhona. The better the chocolate, the better the mousse.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces semisweet dark chocolate, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup sweet liqueur (such as Chartreuse, amaretto, mandarin, or Grand Marnier)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • Whipped cream and grated chocolate, for garnish

Directions

  • Step 1
    Place chocolate in top of a double boiler over simmering water, and cook over low, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  • Step 2
    Place egg yolks and 3 tablespoons water in a heavy saucepan; cook over very low, whisking vigorously and constantly, until yolks begin to foam and thicken, about 6 minutes. Whisk in liqueur, and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. (The sauce should achieve the consistency of a hollandaise or sabayon.) Remove from heat. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids.
  • Step 3
    Fold melted chocolate into sauce. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl, and set aside.
  • Step 4
    Beat cream with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes, beating in 2 tablespoons sugar toward the end. Fold into chocolate mixture.
  • Step 5
    Using electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks start to form, about 1 minute. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold into chocolate-cream mixture.
  • Step 6
    Spoon mousse into a bowl, and chill until ready to serve, 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Garnish servings with whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Deep-Dish All-American Cinnamon Apple Pie

Of the dozens of apple pie recipes published in the past 40 years, this is hands-down the best. It comes as no surprise that it’s the creative genius of pastry queen Rose Levy Beranbaum, who penned some of the most reliable baking books still on shelves today. This pie gets its intensely apple-y flavor from macerating the apples in sugar for an hour. The liquid drained from the apples is simmered with a hit of butter until a syrup forms. That rich syrup is mixed with the apples, piled into the crust, and baked until tender and delicious. The pie is excellent the day it’s made, but even better the next day. Interestingly, this pie was developed to be “slimmer, trimmer, but just as tasty” as its double-crusted counterpart. “bigger is not necessarily better, and neither is sweeter,” said Beranbaum. Not convinced? Try a slice. You’ll see.

Ingredients

  • Pâte Brisée Pie Shell
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves, melted and strained, divided
  • 3 pounds Rhode Island Greening or Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoon cornstarch

Directions

  • Step 1
    Brush inside of baked pie shell with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves.
  • Step 2
    Place apples, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl; toss to combine. Let stand until apples release about 1/2 cup liquid, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Drain apple liquid into a small, heavy saucepan. Set drained apples aside. Add butter to pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Step 3
    Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss drained apples with cornstarch. Arrange half of apples on bottom of pie shell; drizzle with half of the reduced apple syrup. Arrange remaining apples in overlapping concentric circles on top, starting from outside and working in; drizzle with remaining apple syrup. (The apples will be heaped above the top of pie shell but will sink down during baking.)
  • Step 4
    Cut a round of aluminum foil to fit over top of pie; pull edges of foil up and crimp in 3 or 4 places to create a small dome. Tent pie with foil, and bake in preheated oven until apples are tender when pierced with a paring knife, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Step 5
    Remove aluminum foil, and bake until tops of apples are lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Step 6
    Warm remaining apricot preserves, and brush over top of hot pie. Cool pie in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Transfer pie from pan to a serving platter. Serve warm, or cool to room temperature.