Every time I return from my annual summer residence in Paris I’m always asked how I manage eating all the bread, pastries and cheeses without gaining any weight. Well, some of my good fortune is in the genes, but mostly I just follow the eating philosophy of the French.
It’s not that the French eat with abandon (even though there’s a patisserie and boulangerie on every corner). It’s not the cream, the wine or the crusty baguette. In truth, it’s the small portions (for example, their croissants weigh HALF of what is served in the US and measures almost 4 inches smaller in diameter).
In France, the emphasis is always on quality versus quantity.
The French are leery of fad diets based on speculative studies and media-hyped messages and respond to news of this type with a healthy dose of skepticism. As opposed to the American tendency to want to believe in the quick and magic fix.
France produces food more naturally and with much variety. If you’ve ever bit into a tomato in France, you know what I’m referring to; they are so delicious they can taste like sweet candy. And that’s just the point, who needs gobs of sugar when the fruits and vegetables in France can satisfy any sweet tooth.
When I wish for a “dessert” I’m most content, like the French, with slice of cheese or some yogurt or fruit. But there are times I wish for something richer – and that’s when I prepare my decadent mousse au chocolat in my summer Paris apartment.
It’s not made with low calorie sweeteners or margarine or egg substitutes. Non, this is the real deal. Four real ingredients to create one delicieux dessert.
Below is my very simple recipe that I learned many, many years ago at a cooking class in Paris. But if you are visiting Paris and don’t have the opportunity to make it yourself, I suggest you pay a visit to Chez Janou, 2 rue Roger Verlomme, 75004. The bistro is famous for their bottomless bowl of mousse au chocolat.
So, dive right in but be sure to take that healthy walk along the Seine afterwards!
Recipe for French Chocolate Mousse
6 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate
4 eggs, separated
Drizzle of lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1. Melt the chocolate on top of a double boiler or in a bowl set on top of a pot of simmering water until smooth.
2. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixture with the lemon juice until frothy. Continue to beat the egg whites adding the sugar adding in a tablespoon at a time until stiff, but not dry.
3. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate. Add about 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate.
4. Add the chocolate mixture into the remaining egg whites and fold. Place the mousse in the refrigerator to set for 1-2 hours.
Serve with fresh raspberries if desired.