Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse and My Take On Pierre Hermé’s Concorde Cake

DSCF4655

The Favorite Dining Companion is a fan of Sugarhouse’s version of Pierre Hermé’s Concorde Cake. While I haven’t tasted both versions, I do understand the appeal of meringue and mousse in a single bite. So for The Favorite Dining Companion’s birthday, I set out to make my version of a Concorde, albeit an amateur take. The end result looked perfect for Halloween what with the sharp edges and the shards of chocolate meringue that topped the cake. The meringue itself was easy to make; the piping of the meringue onto the parchment was a different story altogether. It took a precise and steady hand to create those rounded, even shapes that the original Concorde had. I had neither precision nor steady hands. It did taste good though! That counts, right?

Chocolate Meringue Recipe from Lick My Spoon:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 F/150 C.
  2. Whisk the egg whites on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar while whisking, and continue to whip the meringue until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  3. Sift the cocoa powder into the mixing bowl and fold into the meringue until evenly incorporated.
  4. Transfer mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a plain tip or ziplock bag with a corner cut off.
  5. On parchment paper-lined baking sheets, pipe the meringue into three 8-inch rounds, piping in a spiral circle. If you’re using half sheet pans, you should be able to fit two rounds per pan (they can be close to each other since they shouldn’t spread as they bake).
  6. With the remaining meringue, pipe as many meringue sticks as possible, about 5 inches long.
  7. Bake at 250F/150C until crisp, about 1 hour. Cool inside the oven for up to an hour.

mordor cake

As for the mousse, well, it took several bowls and lots of clean up after. The end result was a luxurious chocolate mousse that’s perfectly rich and dark enough. None of that cream-based mousse nonsense. Julia Child’s recipes are definitely genius. I got Julia Child’s recipe from David Lebovitz’s website.  I wanted to try Julia Child’s recipe instead of Lick My Spoon’s version since 1) No cream 2) Raw eggs 3) Julia Child.

  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Create a stove top, bain marie setup. Get a saucepan, add water, let that water simmer for 1-2 minutes. Put a large bowl on top of the simmering saucepan and melt together the chocolate, butter, and coffee. Stir until smooth. Remove the bowl from heat and let sit until tepid. Set aside.

3. Get a medium bowl. Set it over the simmering water/bain marie set up. Whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer, which I totally did.)

3. Remove the medium bowl from heat and place the whipped egg yolks in the a large bowl of ice water (aka bowl #3). Beat gently until cool and thick. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

4. In a 4th bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then add the vanilla.

5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

6. Divide into 3 mason jars or small bowls of varying sizes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm. If you let it chill in a large bowl, it will take longer to set up/firm.

A tad bit tedious, yes, but the perfectly silky, airy, yet decadent result is worth it. Make sure you get eggs from a source you trust! Better yet, make sure that your vanilla extract is pure and made from real alcohol so it will act as additional shield against salmonella.

Assembly was quite easy but scary when you do it in the tropics. The mousse, if not stiff enough, will make a messy job of the assembly. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar to cover any imperfections!

DSCF4654

If you’re not as crazy as I am, I’d suggest searching for a heat-stable mousse recipe (or even a whipped ganache/or buttercream) for this concorde cake instead of Julia Child’s recipe. However, if you’d like to have simply mousse for dessert, then please PLEASE try Julia Child’s rich yet airy chocolate mousse. It’s definitely an experience in every mouthful.

meringue1