Buvette is my go-to celebration restaurant—not that it’s overly fancy or expensive, but this tiny French-style New York bistro is just cozy and wonderful and has delicious leeks in vinaigrette as well as THE BEST EVER chocolate mousse. I was excited yet apprehensive about trying the recipe in the restaurant’s wonderful cookbook, Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food. What if it wasn’t as good as the mousse at the restaurant? What if it was as good and Andrew and I developed an addiction, eventually leaving the apartment less and less, and finally just spending all of our time on the couch in pajamas, shoveling the mousse directly out of the bowl into our chocolate-smeared faces, moving only to prepare the next batch? Well. The recipe turned out great. Not quite as great as they make it at the restaurant, but really really delicious. I recommend that you visit the restaurant and try making this recipe so you can see for yourself. I would say that though we haven’t developed a full-blown addiction, we have already eaten this four times in three days!
In other news, I promised some updates on the essentials of fine cooking class I’m taking at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education). I am loving it so far! Every Wednesday in January I rush over after work for a 5-hour class. We start by prepping our mise en place (French for everything in its place), which means that we chop, measure, and get all of our ingredients ready to go. Then we work on the dishes that take the longest to prepare or can sit out for a while before they are served. We move onto other dishes from there, ending with anything that needs to be prepared immediately before serving. Last week we trussed and roasted chickens with an herb butter (I’m a little embarrassed to admit that prior to that I had never trussed a chicken before!) and made a pan sauce to serve with them. There was an escarole soup, rice pilaf, spinach-bacon-mushroom salad with curry vinaigrette, and cherry clafoutis for dessert.
A few interesting things I’ve learned so far: unless there is visible dirt or residue on vegetables, you don’t really need to wash them since rinsing with cold water won’t do very much. There’s also no need to wash chicken. And no need to take the green center stem out of garlic (I don’t do that anyway) unless you’re cooking classical French cuisine. (So I guess at Buvette they probably do take out the garlic stems.) I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to report after this week’s class. The menu includes things like braised lamb shanks, Belgian endive salad, and . . . chocolate mousse! If I learn any helpful mousse-making tips, I promise to update this recipe!
Buvette Chocolate Mousse
adapted from Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food
- 8 ounces very dark chocolate (70% or more)
- 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 3 eggs, separated, plus one additional egg white
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- freshly whipped heavy cream, to serve
- Combine chocolate, butter, and water in a large stainless steel bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until chocolate and butter are melted and combined. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and pinch of salt. Gradually whisk the yolks into the bowl of chocolate, 1/3 at a time; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and sugar with an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk until the whites hold stiff peaks. Very slowly and carefully, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, being careful not to lose too much volume while still incorporating all of the egg whites and not leaving any streaks.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours and up to two days. Serve with freshly whipped cream.