It probably won’t surprise you to find that we adore Julia Child in this house.
(Those of you who have been watching our videos might have spotted the new photo in our kitchen — Julia Child in her tv set kitchen, reaching for a whole fish, which is in the hands of a tech guy crouched in the refrigerator, out of sight line of the camera. It makes us laugh, every time.)
It’s almost a cliché at this point, isn’t it? Who doesn’t love Julia Child?
Well, she worked for years and years on Mastering the Art of French Cooking, with very few people hearing of her work. It wasn’t until decades later, after many episodes of that television show, that she became iconic. Slowly, with an indefatigable spirit and an incredible palate (and probably a massive amount of laughter), she changed the way Americans cooked.
This year, Julia Child would have been 100 years old. To celebrate her birthday, Random House set up a group called the JC100. They asked a number of us food writers and bloggers if we wanted to make some of Julia’s recipes, share them on our sites, and remind you of her greatness. And how!
To celebrate, Danny made Julia Child’s chocolate mousse. Take a look.
We also want to celebrate the incredible talents of our friends Deb and Rod, who keep the site Smith Bites. They are storytellers, photographers, videographers, and a couple madly in love with each other. (Take a look at their portfolio here.) We had such an incredible time with them in Santa Fe, at the Cook ‘n Scribble writing retreat, that we decided to find a way to work together. Our little videos here are well-meaning but pretty imperfect. Deb and Rod are taking our raw, goofy footage and turning it into something great. We’re so grateful to them for this work.
JULIA CHILD’S CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, excerpted from Mastering the art of French Cooking 50th Anniversary by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
This is Julia’s recipe. Not ours. We’re reprinting it here as a means of celebrating the extraordinary Ms. Child, thanks to the work of the JC100.
There are only a few small differences. 1) We used a ginger simple syrup instead of the Grand Marnier. We don’t drink so there was no point in having alcohol in the house or the mousse. 2) Danny put the ginger syrup in with the chocolate instead of the eggs. Other than that, this is our tribute to the genius that was Julia Child.
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup fine white sugar
1/4 cup orange liqueur (we used ginger simple syrup to avoid the alcohol)
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
4 tablespoons strong hot coffee
6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fine white sugar
Beat the eggs yolks and sugar together until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and falls back upon itself, forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Beat in the orange liqueur. Then set mixing bowl over not-quite-simmering water and continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is foamy and too hot for your finger. Then beat over cold water for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms the ribbon. It will have the consistency of mayonnaise.
Melt chocolate with coffee over hot water. Remove from heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time, to make a smooth cream. Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and sugar.
Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Fir one fourth of the eggs whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest.
Turn into serving dish, dessert cups, or petits pots. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.