Chocolate Mousse Question
Posted: 27 July 2008 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]
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For the first time today, I tried to make chocolate mousse, following Marcy Goldman’s recipe in “A Passion for Baking”.

For the chocolate, I chopped in a food processor, 2 cups of semi-sweet chips, adding 1/3 cup of boiling water to melt, and continued processing until I thought the mixture was smooth.

I whipped 3 cups of cream, with confectioner’s sugar, and folded in the cream.

My question is this:  the chocolate had cooled considerably and was almost a solid lump.  After folding in the cream, and worrying that I was going to deflate the cream too much, it appeared as if there were a lot of chocolate lumps.

Is this okay?

Was the chocolate too cold?  If the chocolate had been hot or warm, would it have ruined the cream?

Thanks!!!!

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Posted: 27 July 2008 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It sounds as though your chocolate has siezed, and if this is so I don’t think it can be saved, in other words you’ll have to bin it!  Someone else may be able to enlighten you further but this happened to me only once and there was nothing I could do with the chocolate so it sounds to me as though you’ve done the same thing.  Chocolate can be unpredictable, it needs treating carefully , too much heat too quickly will ruin it IMO.  Just put it down to experiemce>

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Posted: 27 July 2008 10:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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If you make this again, the choc should be warm, not hot, when you add the cream. I’d do it immediately after the choc is melted and smooth (transfer it to a bowl).  I have a triple choc mousse cake that I make - and basically I melt cream and choc over a bain marie (take it off the heat when fully melted), and add whipped cream to it then layer it.  The cream is whipped to soft peaks - it doesn’t deflate. If it is overwhipped to firm peaks, it’s hard to incorporate the choc evenly.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Another thing to consider is the quality of the chocolate chips.  If you buy supermarket chips (not mentioning any brand names) they tend to be ‘bakestable’ and intended for cookies and muffins where you don’t totally want them to lose their shape.  Be sure to use proper chocolate.  I’m a bit surprised that Marcy instructs you to melt the chocolate with boiling water as this is inclined to seize, as Jeannette says above.  I’ve looked up Marcy’s book but cannot find the recipe - on which page is it? Chocolate and cream, however, are made for each other!  I’d love to taste your cake, Jeanne!

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Posted: 28 July 2008 06:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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If you add the boiling water at the beginning, it won’t seize.  It’s when you add a liquid to melted chocolate that can cause it to seize… and yes, you want to be sure to use a good quality chocolate (it doesn’t have to be semisweet, it can be bittersweet if you like).  If you buy a block, shave it or chop it finely so it will melt evenly; if you buy chips, use a premium quality brand. 

Without knowing more details, I would start by boiling water; put the chips in a bowl, and pour the boiling water over the chips.  The heat of the water will melt the chocolate.  If it isn’t completely melted, put the bowl over simmering water and stir gently until uniformly melted.  If the water is too hot, or is boiling under the bowl, this can cause the chocolate to burn.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 09:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think there is an actual percentage of water that can be added to melted chocolate without fear of seizing… and I believe that amount of water is more than you would think it would be.  In other words, a small amount of water will seize the chocolate more than a larger amount of water would.  I’m sure you can find this info somewhere on the internet.

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Posted: 29 July 2008 12:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I, too, think that that amount of water wouldn’t cause seizing. I have never had chocolate seize.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

I was going to blame the chocolate chips, for the very reason AnnieMacD stated.  They can have other things in them.  If the chocolate was just too cold, could you at least warm the whole mess until everything blends together like a ganache?  Then, provided it tasted okay, at least use it for a sauce, if nothing else.

I have had problems with a powdered sugar based buttercream frosting that calls for chocolate melted with butter to be blended in along with some milk and flavoring.  There is a fine line between the butter/chocolate mixture being too hot, where it melts the sugar,and gets soupy, and too cool so it solidifies into little pieces before getting fully incorporated.  Especially if the milk is too cold.

Try again with a different chocolate and make sure it is still pourable before you try to fold in the cream.  If it has cooled down too much, warm it up slightly.

JennyBee

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Posted: 29 July 2008 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’ve done some searching in my multitude of books and actually found a chapter in Alice Merdrich’s “Bittersweet” titled ‘Like Water for Chocolate: Dangerous Liaisons’.  What she says is that small amounts of water cause chocolate to seize (you are correct, Patrincia!) as the water clings to the dry chocolate particles and becomes a sticky mess.  However, if there is enough water to saturate the dry chocolate then the mixture becomes fluid again.  So, basically, seized chocolate can be fixed by adding more liquid.  All is not lost if chocolate seizes, but it will be impossible to temper it - just use it for something else. 

I am so grateful to the blog for all the learning - I work quite a lot with chocolate and always worry about the water issue.  Now I have a better understanding.  Thanks everyone.
Annie

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Posted: 29 July 2008 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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