Mom's Reading

Home Our members Yearly Book Lists Our Complete Book List Recommendations Guestbook

                                                                                                                                                        Close Window

*12 oz best-quality semisweet chocolate
*1 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate
*2 1/2 tsp plain unflavored gelatin
*3 Tb dark Jamaica rum, Cognac, or bourbon whiskey
*3 "large" eggs
*2 egg whites
*1 1/2 cups heavy cream
*1 1/2 Tb pure vanilla extract
*large pinch of salt
*3 Tb sugar
*A small covered saucepan for melting the chocolate and a larger pan with water to set it in; a 2-quart stainless-steel saucepan for the custard sauce; a very clean bowl and beater for egg whites, which can also serve for chilling the mousse.

Bombe aux Trois Chocolats
[A chocolate mousse hidden under a chocolate-covered fudge cake dome]
From Julia's Delicious Little Dinners by Julia Child
Page 102

Made by Kellie
This is a dessert for true chocolate lovers, and one that's beautiful to look at and fun as well - though not difficult to make.  It consists of a chocolate fudge cake, a kind of brownie mixture, that bakes in a jelly-roll pan.  When that is cool, you cut it so that it will line a bowl - or a souffle mold, if you wish - you fill the lined bowl with chocolate mousse and chill it for 6 hours or overnight.  Then unmold (it unmolds easily because first you have  lined your bowl with plastic wrap), spoon a little melted chocolate on top, sprinkle on a pinch of chopped nuts for decoration, and you have an incomparable combination of three chocolates:  the taste of brittle chocolate topping, the crunch of fudge cake, and the smooth velvet of the mousse. 

Our cooking team worked on this for weeks.  I had for some time been developing a rich dark mousse, trying to duplicate one I had found remarkable at Andre Surmain's restaurant in Mougins, in the south of France.  But, we all thought the mousse cake idea was what we were after, so we set our two chefs, Marian and Sara, to work on developing the perfect combination of cake, mousse, and molding technique.  They made more than a dozen, which we solemnly tasted, one by one, and voted upon, narrowing the field to 3.  Ultimately, this one really took the cake - and it was the cake indeed that made all the difference, because we wanted the contrast in texture vis-a-vis mousse that the solid fudge cake gave us.
Manufacturing and Timing Note:
I find it best to make the mousse first, so it can set a little bit, yet be soft enough to spoon into the lined mold.  While the fudge cake is baking and cooling, you can cut out the template or pattern, that will guide you in lining your bowl or mold with the cake. (Once I got my first template made, I kept it on file so I wouldn't have to go through that fussy fitting of things again.)  The recipe here is for a 6-cup bowl of about 8 inches top diameter, which fortunately just works out for the standard rectangular jellyroll pan that is about 11 by 17 inches.  A charlotte mold or even a flowerpot could be used, of course and either is fine because they are both tall enough for drama.

For the Mousse - Chocolate Mougins
For 4 1/2 cups, serving 8 people





Flavor Note:
This is a very strong, rich, dark, very chocolaty mousse, on the bittersweet side.  It consists only of melted chocolate that is folded into a rich custard sauce, and is lightened by beaten egg whites, yet given body with a little gelatin.

Melting the chocolate

Break up the two chocolates and set in the small covered saucepan.  Bring 2 inches of water to boil in a larger pan; remove from heat.  Cover chocolate pan and set in the hot water.  Chocolate will melt while you proceed with the rest of the recipe.  Renew hot water if necessary; chocolate should be smoothly melted and darkly glistening.
The gelatin
Measure gelatin into a bowl or cup, pour on the rum or other liquid, and let soften.
Custard Sauce - Creme Anglaise
Separate the eggs, dropping the whites, plus the extra whites, into the beating bowl, and the yolks into the stainless-steel saucepan.  Set whites aside for later.  Beat the yolks for a minute with a wire whip, or until thick and sticky; then blend in the cream. Stir rather slowly over low heat with a wooden spatula or spoon, reaching all over bottom of pan, as liquid slowly heats.  (Watch it carefully, and do not let it come to the simmer.)  Bubbles will begin to appear on the surface, and in a few minutes the bubbles will start to subside.  Then watch for a whiff of steam rising - this indicates that the sauce is thickening.  Continue for a few seconds until the sauce clings in a light layer to the back of your spatula or spoon.  Immediately remove from heat, and stir for a minute or so to stop cooking.
Combining custard, gelatin, and chocolate
At once, stir the softened gelatin mixture into the hot custard, stirring until the gelatin has dissolved completely.  Stir in the vanilla, then the melted chocolate.
Finishing the dessert
Set the egg white beating bowl over the hot water that melted the chocolate, and stir for a moment to take off the chill (egg whites mount faster and more voluminously when slightly warmed).  Beat at slow speed until they are foamy, beat in the salt, and then gradually increase speed to fast until egg whites form soft peaks.  Sprinkle in the sugar, and beat until egg whites form stiff shining peaks.  Fold them into the chocolate, then return the whole mixture to the egg white bowl, cover, and chill.  Mousse should be somewhat set, not runny, when it goes into the cake-lined mold.   (If made and chilled in advance, leave out at room temperature until it has softened.  Mousse will keep several days under refrigeration or may be frozen)  (Note:  This makes a delicious chocolate mousse just as it is.  Turn the mousse into an attractive dish or individual pots, and serve with bowls of chocolate sauce and of whipped cream.)

Kate's Great Chocolate Fudge Cake
For a jelly-roll pan about 11 by 17 inches


*Butter and flour for baking pan
*1 stick unsalted butter
*4 oz unsweetened chocolate
*1 more stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
*2 cups sugar
*3 "large" eggs
*1 tsp pure vanilla extract
*1/2 tsp salt
*1 cup all-purpose flour (measure by scooping dry-measure cup into flour container and sweeping off excess)
*A jelly-roll pan and wax paper; a saucepan for melting chocolate and butter, and another saucepan in which to set the first; an electric mixer, or a food processor; a flour sifter; a cake rack.



Preheat oven to 350.  Butter the jellyroll pan (so the paper will stick to it), cut a sheet of wax paper to fit it with 2 inches of overhang at each end, and press into pan.  Butter and flour the paper, knocking out excess flour.  Measure out all your ingredients.
Melting the chocolate
Set the first stick of butter and the chocolate in their melting pan, and place in the other pan with 2-3 inches of water; bring near the simmer and let the chocolate and butter melt together while you continue with the next step.
Hand made or mixer-made batter
Cream second stick of butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one by one, and the vanilla and salt.  Stir in the warm melted chocolate  mixture, then gradually sift and fold in the flour.  Spread the batter evenly into the pan, and bake at once in middle level of preheated oven, setting timer for 25 minutes.
Baking and cooling
Bake about 25 minutes, until set but top is still spongy.  A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out with a few specks of chocolate on it.  It should be chewy when cool, and you want it to bend a little so that you can mold it into the bowl; do not let it overcook.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Then turn pan upside down over a cake rack and unmold the cake, gently pulling off wax paper.  Cool 10 minutes more.  (May be baked in advance.  When cool, cover with wax paper, reverse back into baking pan, and cover airtight; store in the refrigerator for a day or 2, or freeze.

Assembling the Bombe aux Trois Chocolats


*Cake and mousse from preceding recipes
*4 oz best-quality semisweet chocolate
*1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
*2 Tb chopped walnuts

The template - or cut-out pattern
Whatever you have chosen as a container for molding the dessert, you will need a pattern of cut-outs to guide you in fitting the cake into the container.  This is the system we use for our round bowl:  a small cake circle for the bottom of the bowl; 7 wedges of cake to rest on the circle and touch the top of the bowl all around with a little space between each wedge, allowing the mousse to peek through its encircling walls of fudge cake.  We also have a large circle to cap the mousse, and all scraps of fudge cake go into the center giving the bombe a little extra sturdiness for its life out of the mold.
Molding the bombe
Before cutting the fudge cake, slice off a 1/2-inch border all around the rectangle, since the edges tend to be brittle - these cut-offs make nice little cookie bits to serve another time.  Then cut around the pattern.  Line the bowl with plastic wrap (for easy unmolding), and arrange the cake pieces in the bowl, pressing gently in place, best side out.  Pile half the mousse into the bowl, cover with scraps of the cake (leftovers from cutting patterns).  Fill with the remaining mousse and place the large circle on top, pressing it down to force the mousse into the bowl and around the cake.  Cover and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.  (Bombe may be refrigerated for several days.  It may be frozen, and thawed before serving - several hours at room temperature, or a day or more in the refrigerator.)
Loosen the bombe from the mold by pulling up on the plastic wrap, then fold wrap down the outside of the bowl.  Center the serving platter (with doily if you are using one) over the top of the  mold and reverse the two, unmolding te bombe onto the platter.  Melt the chocolate over hot water, as described at the beginning of the mousse recipe, and pour over the top of the bombe, letting the chocolate drip lazily and unevenly down the sides.  Top chocolate, while still warm, with a sprinkling of the chopped nuts.

Lightly Whipped Cream - Creme Chantilly
For about 2 cups

*1 cup heavy cream, chilled
*1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (optional)
*1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
*a 2 1/2 quart round-bottomed metal mixing bowl; a larger bowl containing a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them; a large balloon-shaped wire whip, or a hand-held electric beater


Pour cream into metal bowl and set over ice.  If you are using a whip, beat with an up-and-down circular motion, to eat as much air into the cream as possible.  Or rotate an electric beater around the bowl to achieve the same effect.  In 3 or 4 minutes cream will begin to thicken, and has reached the Chantilly or lightly whipped stage when the beater leaves light traces on the surface of the cream - a bit lifted in a spoon will hold its shape softly.  (May be whipped in advance and kept over ice, then whipped lightly again before serving.  Or you may refrigerate the cream in a sieve lined with damp washed cheesecloth, set over a bowl; liquid will exude into the bowl as the cream sits - will keep reasonably well for several hours.  If you are serving the cream for dessert, sift on the sugar, add the vanilla, and fold in with a rubber spatula just before using).