Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flaming Chocolate

Valentine’s Day approaches and chocolate is in the air. Cupid’s been hovering, torching up the bow, readying to fire out some sizzling arrows of hot burning cocoa love.

This year my sweetie and I are having Valentine’s Day Dinner with our Santa Cruz Mountains Gourmet Dinner Club. Once a month we have Sunday dinner with 4 other club members who are often complete strangers, in the homes of people who are often complete strangers. Sitting down together and sharing good food and wine breaks down a lot of social barriers, one step closer to world peace. Oops, I digress…so when I learned it was our turn to bring dessert to Dinner Club my taste buds bee lined for chocolate.

I am not a chocoholic by any means. My sweet tooth runs on moderation. But when it comes to celebrating romance I’m a complete sucker and chocolate takes the cake. Trolling through my chocolate repertoire, a flaming chocolate mousse recipe rises to the top of the list. Fortunately for all you loyal readers out there, it comes with a story.

A family food tradition was conceived when my second son, Reflection, turned 5. His dad had just returned from a successful hunting trip near Mount Rainier. We ate pretty close to the bone and snagging an elk meant winter meat for our family. In a grand gesture, dad presented the filet mignon to his son for birthday dinner. To complement the occasion I quipped, “If you make elk, I’ll make mousse.” So we whipped up some cream and instead of lighting candles flambéed a shot of 151 rum and sang Happy Birthday. (It was only for effect, the alcohol burns off.)

From that year on, Reflection never had a birthday cake but a flaming chocolate mousse in its place. As he got older he and his teenage buddies surmised how to blow the flame out asap for maximum alcohol content, but the tradition endured. Years later, in lieu of a cake at his wedding, Reflection and his beautiful bride torched off a flaming chocolate mousse to serve their guests.

Here’s an adaptation of the original recipe, with a little rum added for adults only, to spice up the romance. It’s smooth, rich and quickly confected. Let the sparks fly. If pyrotechnics isn’t your thing, chill it in sherbet glasses and ignite your inner fire.

P.S. Be careful.

¼ cup sugar
2-4 tablespoons rum
¼ lb. semisweet or sweet chocolate
2-3 tablespoons whipping cream
2 cups whipped cream
2 stiffly beaten egg whites

In a small saucepan combine the rum and sugar. Cook over very low heat until dissolved but not brown in color. Set aside. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted, stir in 2-3 tablespoons whipping cream. Add the sugar syrup to the melted chocolate and stir until smooth. When it cools, fold in the beaten egg whites, and then gently fold this into the whipped cream. Chill in a pie pan for at least 2 hours. To serve, pour a shot of 151 rum over the top, and let the sparks fly.

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