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Monday, May 09, 2005 

Hail to the Chef


Posted by Hello Imagine spending almost 25 years in the white house pastry kitchen as the executive pastry chef for five presidents and first families, doing your work surrounded by pounds of butter, chocolate, cream, fresh fruits and sugar. while the job may sound like a dessert lover's dream, it's not always as sweet as it seems.

Just ask french-born patissier Roland R. Mesnier, who retired last July. Lately he's been traveling throughout the country promoting his first cookbook, "Dessert University", which took four years to write with help from Lauren Chattman. the 545 pages are filled with all kinds of show-stopping desserts, many from his White House years.

During his time in the white house (1980-2004) he designed and created some 3,000 different desserts with the help of one full-time assistant. Read more at The Press Telegram

One of the recipes he is sharing:

QUICK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH CRYSTALLIZED GINGER

Many chocolate mousse recipes are unnecessarily complicated. Simpler is better. There is nothing more satisfying than the combination of cream and chocolate, with a little bit of crystallized ginger added for excitement. Although there are only three ingredients in this recipe, you must handle them carefully for the best results. The chocolate should be a little warm to the touch; otherwise it may set before you have a chance to fold it into the whipped cream, resulting in a grainy mousse. For the same reason, let the cream come to room temperature before you whip it. If it is too cold, it might cause the chocolate to harden too quickly.

4 ounces semisweet OR bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
6 chocolate cups (optional)

Pour 2 inches of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Place chocolate in a stainless steel bowl that is big enough to rest on top of the saucepan, and place it over the simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Heat, whisking occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and let cool until chocolate is just warm to the touch, between 95 and 100 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Whip cream with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks. Add whipped cream and ginger to chocolate all at once, and quickly whisk together. Scrape mousse into a serving bowl or individual goblets, or pipe it into chocolate cups, if desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 1 day before serving. Makes 6 servings.
-- From "Dessert University," by Roland Mesnier.

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