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.

Shrimp Creole

We like the tart heat of Aleppo pepper in this gluten-free spin on shrimp creole. If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, a combination of 1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper makes a good substitute.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Steamed rice, sliced scallions and lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  • Step 1
    In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and peppers and cook until softened, 7 minutes. Pour the chicken broth and tomatoes into the saucepan, then add the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and Aleppo pepper. Bring the to a boil, then reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the sauce has thickened and the peppers are very soft, 15 minutes longer.
  • Step 2
    Stir in the shrimp and cook until just pink throughout, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Step 3
    Garnish the shrimp creole with thinly sliced scallions and serve warm with steamed rice. Pass lemon wedges and additional hot sauce at the table.

Make Ahead

This shrimp creole can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated for 3 days. Gently reheat to a simmer before proceeding with the recipe.

Sizzling Pancakes

In 1989, Binh Duong, a Vietnamese refugee turned chef, owned one of the buzziest Vietnamese restaurants in America, Truc Orient Express in Hartford, Connecticut. Jacques Pépin was a fan. So was F&W’s associate test kitchen director Marcia Kiesel, who wrote that Duong’s dishes had “a balance that appeals to the shyest or most cosmopolitan palate.” Exhibit A: His bánh xèo, crisp and lacy rice crêpes colored with turmeric and studded with caramelized onions, shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. The Vietnamese name of the dish translates to “sizzling cake”—so called for the sizzling sound the batter makes when it hits the pan.

Ingredients

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 red Thai chiles or 1 medium jalapeño, thickly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water

Pancakes

  • 2 cups rice flour (about 10 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into very thin slices (about 30 slices), divided
  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp (about 30 shrimp), divided
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushroom caps, divided
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts (about 7 ounces), divided

DirectionsMake the dipping sauce:

  • Step 1
    Using a mortar and pestle, pound chiles, garlic, and sugar until mixture resembles a slurry, about 3 minutes. Stir in fish sauce, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons water until blended. Set aside.

Make the pancakes:

  • Step 2
    Whisk together rice flour and 2 1/4 cups cold water in a medium bowl. Whisk in scallion and turmeric until blended. Set aside.
  • Step 3
    Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over high. Add 3 pork slices, 3 shrimp, and a few mushroom and onion slices. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook until pork and vegetables are lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side.
  • Step 4
    Stir rice flour mixture. Remove skillet from heat. Holding skillet at an angle, pour in 1/3 cup rice flour mixture, and swirl to evenly coat bottom of skillet.
  • Step 5
    Return skillet to heat over medium. Cover and cook, undisturbed, until sides of pancake turn deep brown and curl up, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, and sprinkle 1/4 cup bean sprouts over pancake. Fold in half, and transfer to a baking sheet; keep warm in preheated oven. Repeat procedure with remaining oil, pork, shrimp, mushrooms, onion, salt, pepper, and bean sprouts to make 9 more pancakes. Arrange pancakes on a large platter, and serve warm with dipping sauce.

Grilled Korean-Style Short Ribs

Twenty years ago, way before Korean food was mega-trendy, Los Angeles food writers Linda Burum and Linda Merinoff were singing the praises of kalbi, the flanken-cut beef short ribs typical of Korean barbecue. The short ribs are marinated overnight in a simple mix of sake, soy, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. Cooked quickly on a hot grill, the juicy meat is tender with a satisfying chew. They make a stunning main course served alongside kimchi, lettuce leaves, and steamed rice. For the best results, ask your butcher to slice three or four ribs across the bone into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, and plan to marinate the meat overnight. The marinade is also delicious with chicken or pork.

Ingredients

  • 5 pound flanken-style (about 1/2-inch-thick) beef short ribs
  • 1/3 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 4 scallions (white parts and 2 inches of green parts only), finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 7 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  • Step 1
    Place ribs in a large glass baking dish or enameled roasting pan; stir together sake and granulated sugar, and rub on both sides of ribs. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  • Step 2
    Meanwhile, stir together soy sauce, scallions, garlic, brown sugar, and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/3 cups water, and stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in vegetable oil and pepper. Pour soy mixture over ribs, and turn to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Return ribs to room temperature before cooking. Discard marinade.
  • Step 3
    Open bottom and top vents of a charcoal grill completely. Light a charcoal chimney starter filled with briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour onto bottom grate of grill, and then push to one side of grill. Working in batches, place ribs on oiled grates directly over coals, and grill, uncovered, until meat is seared, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to side of grill without coals, and grill, uncovered, until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill, and repeat procedure with remaining ribs. (Alternatively, preheat broiler with oven rack 3 inches from heat; broil ribs until browned and ribs reach desired degree of doneness, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-well.)