Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chocolate Mousse--Doctor-Prescribed

Just recently, in one of the September issues of Time magazine, I read an article "What to Eat Now. Uncovering the Myths About Food" by Dr. Mehmet Oz, a mega TV celebrity, a heart surgeon, and also an expert on diet and healthy lifestyle. There has not been an article about food I read in recent years that I enjoyed more.

I am lucky to stay on the slim side and not needing to follow any diet, but a healthy nutrition is a very important aspect of my everyday life, which I try to respect, especially when it comes to teaching my kids to acquire good nutritional habits.

My diet is often vegetarian, rich in fruits and vegetables. I try to buy many organic products, and always organic milk and eggs. I do not like sodas at all and avoid "lite" dishes and artificial sweeteners. But at the same time I have also my nutritional weaknesses. I am not afraid of cream and butter, I love my coffee with whole milk, I snack on chocolate with my afternoon coffee (on a rainy day it can be the whole bar), have my dinner with a glass of wine (or two) and a nice dessert after that.

But it turned out, according to Dr.Oz and the new Dietary Guidelines that my nutritional sins could be considered a dietary advantage. Just read that:

"Want to get healthy? Forget about diet sodas and low-fat foods. Instead, tuck into some eggs, whole milk, salt, fat, nuts, wine, chocolate and coffee"

"... red wine every day: it has relatively few calories... and it is thought to raise good cholesterol and reduce the bad kind..."

"The polyphenols in coffee ... is in fact the No. 1 source of antioxidants in the Western world and in some studies has been associated with lower incidence of dementia, Parkinson's disease and Type 2 diabetes."

And most importantly for my today's post:

"Chocolate is another source of antioxidants--in this case, in the form of flavonoids, which are what give cocoa beans their pungent taste."

The other day on an already cooler and cloudy day I craved chocolate mousse. I made the mousse and in the evening I ate two bowls myself. And I felt no guilt: that delicious dessert was doctor-prescribed. At least in moderation.

Chocolate Mousse
(Makes 6 portions)

1 full cup (7 oz) of bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips,
4 egg yolks,
3 tbsp sugar,
1 tsp vanilla extract,
1 and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (sweet cream with a minimum of 30 percent fat content),
1 tsp vanilla extract,
a pinch of salt,
1/2 tsp coffee extract.

1. Heat 3/4 cup of cream in a small pot, on a medium heat, until very hot, almost boiling.
2. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, salt and sugar. When the mixture becomes smooth and well combined, add the hot cream.

3. Mix it again and put it back in the pot in which the cream was heated. Return to the heat and cook it slowly, stirring continuously, for about 3 minutes, until it turns into a thick custard.
4. Turn off the heat but leave the pot on the heater. Add all the chocolate and mix it with the custard until all the pieces melt completely and make a smooth, chocolate mixture.

5. Add the coffee extract and cool it down.
6. Whisk the remaining cream (3/4 cup) until stiff. Fold it into the chocolate mixture in three batches, until the whipped cream disappears completely in the custard.
7. Divide into serving bowls and chill in a refrigerator for 6 hours.

Serve dusted with cocoa powder.

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