As we get ready to pack up and head out for the holidays, I wanted to share something special related to one of the happiest days of my life. Last November, Julia and I got married in a friend’s backyard. Afterward, our families walked together to enjoy what was one of the most delicious – and meaningful – meals at the back table of Buvette in the West Village. Buvette – and chef Jody Williams – is one of the most beloved restaurants in New York City. A favorite of writers, artists, foodies and even Martha herself, Buvette is open practically around the clock, serving delicious food made from one of the tiniest kitchens I’ve ever seen. Every spare inch of Buvette’s 1,000 square feet is used wisely. Tiny plates are stacked high on marble shelves, waitlists are written directly on the door frame and espresso machines behind the bar steam up eggs for breakfast orders. Any space not used for displays of decadent food is decorated with cherished vintage pieces that Jody collects during her travels and from antique fairs. In short, it’s one of my favorite places in the world.
We chose to have our wedding dinner at the back table of Buvette for all of the reasons above, but mainly because Jody is someone who means a lot to Julia – and now to me, too. Julia worked on the Buvette cookbook and the recipes from this very special cookbook are near and dear to my heart. But none quite as dear as the recipe for Jody’s Mousse au Chocolat. If you think you’ve had chocolate mousse before, get ready to rediscover just how rich, decadent and transformative it can be. This is, without a doubt, the best chocolate mousse I’ve ever eaten. We love it so much it was served up as our dessert course for our wedding dinner. The greatest compliment it could ever receive was when Julia’s grandmother, who is vigilant about healthy eating, requested that the mousse be placed directly in front of her.
I’m so happy to share the recipe here today and to give away a copy of Jody’s wonderful book, Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food. All you have to do to be eligible to win a copy is leave a comment below answering the following question: What is your most powerful food memory? One of mine will always be this chocolate mousse and I’m so excited to hear all of yours. After the holiday we’ll choose one lucky winner to receive a copy. xo, grace
UPDATE: THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
Mousse au Chocolat
[Serves 4 to 6]
-12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
-½ pound (8 ounces) semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
-1 tablespoon water
-3 large eggs, separated, plus an additional egg white
-Pinch coarse salt
-2 teaspoons superfine sugar
-Crème fraîche or lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
1. Put the butter and chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl along with the spoonful of water and set over a small pot of barely simmering water. Stir until completely melted.
2. Set the chocolate mixture aside to cool slightly.
3. Whisk the 3 egg yolks together in a large mixing bowl with the salt. Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, place the 4 egg whites in a large mixing bowl, or into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip. Add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
5. Whisk the yolks, one-third at a time, into the chocolate mixture, making sure each addition is completely combined before adding the next. Don’t be tempted to add the egg yolks all at once—adding it in batches will help regulate the temperature of the egg yolks and keep them smooth and uniform.
6. Next, carefully fold the stiff egg whites into the chocolate mixture, being as gentle and careful as possible so as not to lose any of the volume you have worked so hard to create in the egg whites. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days in advance.
7. Scoop the mousse, which will have become a striking combination of fluffy and dense, into serving bowls and serve with creme fraiche or lightly sweetened whipped cream.