The Daily Dish

Cortney Burns' Chocolate Mousse

chocolate mousse

Chocolate Mousse with Black Rice Porridge and Spice-Poached Sour Cherries

Combining the best elements of Asian porridge (or “congee,” as it’s known in much of the Asian world) and Mexican chocolate-spice combinations, this dessert is complex and darkly dramatic, with its black rice, dark-chocolate mousse, and scarlet sour cherries.

For the chocolate mousse
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup cow or goat milk
1/4 cup palm sugar or light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
1/8 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. sweet paprika
6 egg yolks
1-1/2 tsp. powdered gelatin
8 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate (60% to 70% cacao), coarsely chopped

For the black rice porridge
1 cup Chinese black rice (forbidden rice)
Kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dried cherries
2 Tbs. palm sugar or light brown sugar
2 Tbs. fresh ginger juice (see Ingredient Tip, below)
Freshly ground pink pepper

Ginger juice can be made in a juicer, or by grating a piece of peeled fresh ginger on a rasp grater into a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Press the pulp into the bottom of the strainer with a spoon to extract the juice.

For the spice-poached sour cherries
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 cardamom pod
1/2 star anise
1/2 bay leaf
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. soju (see Ingredient Tip, below) or vodka
1 lb. fresh or frozen sour cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 cup palm or light brown sugar
1/4 cup tart cherry juice
1/4 cup fresh ginger juice (see Ingredient Tip, above)
1/4 cup rice vinegar

Soju is a distilled beverage native to Korea. Its taste is similar to that of vodka but slightly sweeter. It is traditionally made from rice, wheat, and barley, and sometimes potatoes. Soju can be found in the sake section of most large liquor stores.

Make the mousse
In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the cream, milk, 2 Tbs. of the sugar, the ginger, chili powder, and paprika. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is melted, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining 2 Tbs. sugar until well blended. Gradually pour the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan.

Cook the cream and egg yolk mixture over a low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon and the temperature registers 180°F on a instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes; do not boil. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a clean medium bowl.

In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with 2 Tbs. water, stirring until the powder is dissolved; let sit for 1 minute. Add the gelatin to the cream and egg yolk mixture and stir until incorporated. Put the chocolate in a large bowl and pour the cream and egg yolk mixture over it. Let it sit, without stirring, until the chocolate begins to melt, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and blended into the cream. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8-inch square baking dish (or similar) with a piece of plastic wrap so that it extends about 3 inches over the sides. Pour the chocolate mixture into the dish and refrigerate, uncovered, until set, at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.

Make the black rice porridge
Rinse the rice with cool water until the water runs clear. Put the rice in a 3-quart saucepan and cover with clean water. Soak for 1 to 2 hours. Drain the rice through a sieve and return to the saucepan. Bring the rice, 2-1/2 cups of water, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover tightly, and cook for 45 minutes. The rice should be tender but still wet.

Warm the cream, dried cherries, sugar, and ginger juice in a 1- to 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, 5 to 7 minutes. Add this mixture to the rice. Return the rice to a simmer over medium-low heat to reduce slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the pink pepper and salt to taste. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Make the spice-poached sour cherries
In a small, dry skillet, toast the peppercorns, coriander, cardamom, star anise, and bay leaf over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and aside. Cut a 5x5-inch square of cheesecloth and put the toasted spices in the center. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth together with a piece of kitchen twine to form a closed bundle and set aside.

Mix the cornstarch with 1 Tbs. of the soju until the cornstarch is dissolved; set aside.

Put the cherries and sugar in a 12-inch skillet. Add the cheesecloth bundle, the remaining soju, the cherry and ginger juices, and the rice vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer while continuing to stir frequently until the cherries are tender and the sugar is dissolved, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir the soju-cornstarch mixture and gently blend it into the cherry mixture; cook for another minute to thicken. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Discard the cheesecloth bundle.

Assemble and serve
Remove the chocolate mousse from the refrigerator. Gently pull the edges of the plastic wrap up to loosen the mousse from the baking dish. Move the plastic-lined mousse to a cutting board. Slice the mousse into 6 to 8 even rectangles, using a knife dipped in hot water.

With a spoon, spread the black rice porridge evenly onto a platter. Spoon the spice-poached sour cherries on top of the rice, leaving parts of the rice uncovered. Remove each piece of mousse from the plastic wrap with a spatula and arrange on top of the rice and cherries.

Recipe adapted from Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.


Courtney Burns is the Projects Manager for San Francisco’s Bar Tartine. She shared this recipe with us when she was featured on Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.


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