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“Mousses Dalloway”: Double Chocolate Mousse with Pomegranate Seeds

November 9, 2011

The first time I realized that not every family eats pomegranate seeds in outrageous amounts was when my mother came to read Persephone and the Pomegranate to my elementary school class. The story is about Persephone, who gets pulled into the Underworld by Hades. While her mother, Demeter, searches the earth for her, Hades tries to convince Persephone to eat, knowing that if she eats even a morsel, she will be bound to him and to the Underworld forever. He leaves a half pomegranate with her and overcome by temptation, she eats just six seeds. As Demeter, goddess of the fertility of the earth, searches for her daughter in vain, the earth itself begins to whither, grow colder, and eventually freeze over with her grief. When she finally finds Persephone, Hades reveals that she has tasted the pomegranate and must live with him; however, Demeter bargains for Persephone’s life, promising to give Hades one month of the year for each seed her daughter has eaten. For six months of the year, Demeter grieves for her daughter and the earth grows cold and wintery, but when those months are over and her daughter is freed from the underworld again, grains begin to grow and the earth prospers. After this story, my mom opened pomegranates for all of us to taste and I was shocked by how many people had never heard of it. Still today, I meet people who don’t know the joy of pomegranate, ‘fruit of the Underworld’.

It felt like pomegranate season came early this year, before winter even really set in – BC tomatoes are still only 99 cents but pomegranates are everywhere! I’m trying to make the most of them while I still can since they always disappear alarmingly soon after Christmas, so pomegranate seeds have been sneaking into all kinds of new dishes in our house.

But despite all this talk about pomegranate, that part was really an afterthought. The double layer of mousses is amazing and I would make this again at any time of year, pomegranate seeds or no. Below the recipe are some great options for continuing this dessert year-round but I think I might always like this version best.

Double Chocolate Mousse

Dark Chocolate Mousse Layer
Adapted from Mon Cours de Cuisine: La Pâtisserie

This is a different chocolate mousse from the one in “The Three Mousseketeers” post, and I think I like it even better. The added butter makes it a bit smoother and more delicious (as it tends to make everything…)

125 grams dark chocolate
50 grams (about 1/4 cup) butter
2 eggs, separated
2 tbsp sugar

Melt the chocolate, sugar and butter together on low, then take off the heat. Mix in the two egg yolks and let sit. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold with a spatula into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the bottom of wine glasses or whichever containers you’re using (glass is best to see the layers!) then put in the fridge while making the white chocolate mousse.

If you have leftover chocolate mousse, and I really hope you do, pour it into small cups and top with coarse sea salt. We used salt from Brittany, the region of France where Hélène is from.

White Chocolate Mousse Layer

White chocolate mousse is notoriously difficult, since white chocolate isn’t chocolate at all and really doesn’t behave like it. But this recipe worked quite well, if not necessarily traditionally.

60 grams white chocolate (approx)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 egg white

Melt the white chocolate and half the whipping cream together, let cool slightly. Beat the remainder of the whipping cream and the egg white into separate bowls and combine both into the chocolate mixture, folding in with a spatula.

Pour on top of the chocolate mousse and put into the fridge. You can add your toppings right before serving.

Additional Ideas:
Cardamom Lemon: Infuse the chocolate mousse with cardamom (melt butter with cardamom seeds, then spoon them out before adding butter to the chocolate) then top the white chocolate mousse layer with lemon zest.
Summer Flowers Mousse: Place one edible flower (pansies, tulip petals, violets, etc.) on top of the white chocolate layer.
Lavender Mousse: Similar to above, garnish with lavender and infuse the dark chocolate layer with lavender.
Three Mousseketeers, Revisited: Add a milk chocolate mousse layer in the middle. Or add a crushed berries layer between the two mousses.
Latte: Add 1-2 tbsp espresso when melting the white chocolate and whipping cream together.
Chocolate Orange: Add a splash of cointreau to the dark chocolate layer, then caramelize orange peel in sugar water (boil until sugar thickens) for garnish.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen slemon permalink
    November 9, 2011 2:35 pm

    One of this brilliantly named site’s most brilliant titles. Oh, and by the way, it sounds delicious.

  2. Hélène Blassel permalink
    November 30, 2011 1:40 am

    I fully concur with Stephen. Best title! :)

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