Coconut Banana Chocolate Mousse Pie

This month I am stepping out with my dark chocolate mousse madness!  I have tried nearly every basic chocolate mousse recipe (I still have one more up my sleeve) and now I’m going to use what I’ve learned to incorporate dark chocolate mousse into some more desserts —-  All Vegan and No Sugar.

To start off, I’m going to take July’s avocado-based mousse and change it up a bit. That mousse was very good but not very sweet and though I did put it into a pie crust, it really begged for a sweeter, more complex crust so here it is!

BANANA COCONUT CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE 001

Coconut Banana Chocolate Mousse Pie

Make the crust

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 4 tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
  • stevia powder to taste (about a 1 teaspoon if you’re using something like Truvia.)

This crust could be done with just ground nuts and dried fruit plus the cinnamon and seasonings.  A mixture like that can be put into a food processor and then pressed into the pie plate to make a no-bake pie crust.

Pulse the nuts in your food processor until they are finely ground up but not so much that they turn into a nut butter. Add the dried raisins next. Any dried fruit could be used here. Pulse the raisins or bits of other dried fruit with  the stevia, salt and cinnamon and when it glops up, stop. Pour this glop into a bowl and add the almond flour. Blend the almond milk and the shredded coconut together and mix that in also. Once the mixture is pressed into place in the pie plate, bake it at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes to get excess moisture out of the crust.  When done, the hot crust will not be totally hard or crispy.

This method yields a different texture of crust that is slightly chewy.  Cool the crust completely on a rack if you have one. You want to cool the crust without putting it into the refrigerator.

Make the banana dark chocolate mousse filling

  • pulp from two avocados
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup 100% cacao powder
  • pinch of salt
  • a few drops of liquid stevia (optional)
  • coconut milk as needed to get the desired texture and density

Put everything into a food processor or blender and puree it until it is thick and smooth. What you may run into with this is that the cacao powder makes the mixture very thick and possibly too dense to blend it well. That is why you’ll want some coconut milk or other non-dairy liquid to loosen the mousse up enough to blend it. I probably added about 1/4 cup—a little at a time—but I don’t measure. I also used a spatula to help keep the mixture moving in the processor.

Pour the mousse into the pie crust and spread it evenly. Lick the spatula and sprinkle some extra coconut flakes on top of the pie.

This version of the avocado-based mousse was a little sweeter than the last because of the banana and the combination of the crust with the mousse was much more satisfying than the one I made in July!

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Time Flies When You’re Having Mousse

I can’t believe how fast time flies when your having mousse! It was only last December when I was dreaming and scheming to make a different dark chocolate mousse every month and now I’m about to show you my seventh mousse—for July.

I have been thinking about what kind of mousse recipe I’ll get into. I’ve already tried strictly traditional French a la Julia Child, mousse with egg whites but no yolks, mousse with yolks and whites, mousse with cream, mousse with butter, mousse with sugar, mousse with dates, mousse with cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate.  I thought I’d covered the gamut of basic mousse recipes until my friend reminded me of one more . .

Mousse made with avocado!

Moose (1998) Alaska Office of Economic Development

He’s a nice chocolate color for a big ol’ Guacamoussie, isn’t he? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vegan Dark Chocolate Chili Mousse Pie

  • Three ripe but firm organic avocados
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice syrup
  • 6 drops of liquid stevia
  • 1 cup of 100% pure cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pure dark chili powder
  • Couple pinches of salt
  • Almond or your fave non-dairy milk as needed to adjust the density
  • Baked and cooled pie crust of your choice
  • Garnish of choice

Puree it all up, taste and adjust, pour it into the finished crust and chill.

But before you do, keep reading—Especially if you’re a sweet freak!!

As you probably realized a long time ago, this is not one of those gorgeously perfect, look-what-you-can-do-if-try-to-be-like-me food blogs.  My style could be described as down-home realism. Why just look at that crust (which was incredibly flaky---my best ever) and "someone pinched off a few pieces of it before the photo was taken!

As you probably realized a long time ago, this is not one of those gorgeously perfect, look-what-you-can-do-if-try-to-be-like-me food blogs. My style could be described as down-home realism. Why just look at that crust (which was incredibly flaky—my best ever) and you’ll see that “someone” pinched off a few pieces of it before the photo was taken! The garnish is a sprinkle of granulated coconut “sugar.”

The results?  

An avocado base for this mousse is by far the richest tasting of any mousses I’ve made so far. We loved the texture, the richness and were pleased that the mousse didn’t actually taste like avocados!  Also the dark red chili powder was just the right amount—you could taste the hint of chili but it didn’t overwhelm the mousse and it enhanced the flavor of the chocolate in a very unique way. Not particularly a light mousse, though.

This was also an extremely chocolatey mousse, especially compared to the date-based ones I made for May and June.  It had a truly dark chocolate taste.  But it was not sweet! At first I was not even going to share this recipe because of that. But me and my Hubbin’, well, we weren’t going to ignore a dark chocolate chili mousse pie just sitting there waiting to be eaten!

We both said the same thing about it—“It’s not sweet at all but the taste really grows on you!”

This mousse, though not sweet, was not the least bit bitter. I liked it a great deal just the way it is because, frankly, I do not need things to be extremely sweet.

If you really do love sweets, you could make this sweet with honey, maple syrup or something else.  But I don’t use much honey and I think maple syrup would not be a compatible taste. I also don’t use agave as it reacts in your body just like high fructose corn syrup.

What to do?

I had several ideas that I will be trying and maybe we’ll re-visit this mousse pie down the road when I’ve experimented.  One thought was to use a sweet crust such as a pressed date-nut kind of crust. That would probably be very good!

Another idea—and this will rock your dessert boat—is to make this mousse into a savory non-dessert mousse.  That really intrigues me and that was my first idea when I tried the mousse before it was even in the pie crust.  I’m going to have to do some sniffing and tasting—aromatherapy if you will—to see what savory herbs will combine with this mousse.  And then I can imagine serving it in an individual little crust, perhaps made with filo dough, along with a dark green salad such as arugala. Why not? I made a savory dark chocolate sauce for beets, didn’t I?

I’m liking that idea!!  I’m going to work on this and I’ll get back to you in August when it’s dark chocolate mousse time once again. In the meantime, I think I’ll try my dark chocolate chili mousse for second breakfast . . .

A Date With Chocolate

You might have noticed I missed the April entry of my Dark Chocolate Mousse quest. I was such a FOOL! (An April one, that is) April came and went so fast. (excuse #1) And I was debating if I really wanted to include any more sugar and dairy laden mousses on my blog. (excuse #2) And besides that I couldn’t make up my mind if I wanted to lay any more eggs into my desserts. (excuse #3) Not to mention April only has 30 days so I was gypped! (excuse #4) And I got freaked out thinking I still had a lot of months to go on this mousse quest thing and wanted to be more inspired before I posted another one. (excuse #5)

You know, when I started this whole mousse thing I truly had never made such a dessert before from scratch and because I think dark chocolate mousse is so, so very delicious, I assumed it was also complex.  But it really is not complicated at all. It takes more time to clean up the pots, pans, bowls and spoons from making mousse than it does to construct it. (And of course, it takes no time at all to inhale eat the mousse.)

But then spring fever hit me! The sultry perfume of the Russian olive trees wafting through the air, the emergence of flowers, leaves on trees, the warm breezes in the afternoon and the sharp smell of a light sprinkle of rain on an otherwise dry New Mexico day.

Love and romance are calling my name. So I made a date with chocolate

No really! Chocolate Mousse with dates as the sweetener. And tofu. You can’t get more veganiciously romantic than that! And guess what? This is by far the simplest and fastest mousse yet! And as a bonus–there will be hardly anything to wash afterwards!

The only caveat will be . . . . How will it taste?  I mean, this is a pretty dramatically different mousse recipie—tofu as a base and dates as the sweetener!

I went to a favorite standby website for the recipe, Christina Cooks.com, for her incredibly simple recipe. There are just four ingredients: silken tofu, 100% cocoa powder, medjool dates and pure vanilla extract—plus I added a little cinnamon.  You blend it all up and you’ve got yourself a dreamy, creamy chocolate mousse and only one blender or food processor to wash!

Mine came out way too thick at first and I added more tofu to get the right consistency. I would suggest having an extra container of silken tofu around just in case. When I added the extra tofu, everything blended up nicely. However the extra tofu reduced the proportion of cocoa and the outcome was a little less chocolatey than usual. I’m going to have to work on that adjustment.

I decked our mousse out with some raspberries and lit a romantic, naturally scented candle.  Ooooo La La! A Date with Chocolate!

A candlelit date with - sigh - chocolate! How romantical can you get?

A candlelit date with – sigh – chocolate! How romantical can you get?

Sunday Stroll Through the Bosque and February’s Dark Chocolate Mousse

Here in New Mexico we had our first really sunny, warm weekend of the year. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an early spring, but my oh my! Today was a teaser!

The family decided to take a stroll through the bosque (pronunciation here) at Rio Grande State Park. When I first arrived in New Mexico I had no idea what a bosque was. “Bosque” is derived from the Spanish word for “woodlands.” It is defined as the areas of forest and clumps of trees found along the flood plains of a stream or river bank in the southwestern United States.

We walked along the river. At first the trees and grasses on the bosque seem dry, drab and lifeless–not ready to emerge for spring yet. But on closer look I was amazed at the color and beauty I could find.

Click on the images to get the full impact of color!

Geese on the Rio

Geese on the Rio

Mistress Moon accompanied the bright Sun.

Mistress Moon accompanied the bright Sun.

Golden grasses

Golden grasses

The gnarly trees said, "Hello!"

The gnarly trees said, “Hello!”

Shadow-kissing on a lazy Sunday at the bosque.

Shadow-kissing on a lazy Sunday at the bosque.

Hungry from our wanderings, we had an early supper. I decided now is the time for a quick and easy Dark Chocolate Mousse for February.

Renegade cook that I am, with only one mousse under my belt so far this year, I decided to create my own adaptation combining several ideas I had found. While January’s mousse was very rich and thick, my February mousse was very light yet very chocolaty!

This mousse literally took only about 10 minutes to make.

Easy to Make, Easy on the Waistline Dark Chocolate Mousse

  • 4 egg whites
  • 130 grams 70% dark chocolate pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • Strawberries and black raspberries (or any available berries)

Beat the egg whites in a very clean, dry bowl until they make stiff peaks. You can test if they’re beaten enough by turning the bowl upside down and finding they don’t fall out. This is a courageous thing to do if you’re not sure you’ve beaten the egg whites enough but I know you can handle it.

Put a bowl or pan over a pot of simmering water. Don’t let the top bowl/pan touch the water below. Chocolate doesn’t like to be treated harshly. Put your chocolate pieces in the upper bowl and stir as it melts. It will become really smooth and shiny when it’s done and it will be stinky and ruined if you burn it so don’t run off do to something else while your chocolate melts.

Remove the melted chocolate and let it cool down a little so that when you add it to your egg whites the whites don’t curdle. Just add a little chocolate into the whites and fold them in. Let the egg white and chocolate get used to each other before you put all the chocolate in. Folding is easy to do with a spatula. Cut down the center of the whites with the edge of the spatula and fold the mixture over. Turn the bowl and repeat. You want to keep the air in the beaten egg whites as much as possible.

When the chocolate and egg whites are combined, add some cinnamon. You won’t taste cinnamon, but it will brighten the chocolate flavor. Add the orange liqueur and you’re ready to assemble a lovely dessert.

I chilled my glasses for this and put black raspberries and strawberry halves in the bottom. In went the mousse and then more berries on top.

Voila! A very chocolaty flavor in a very light mousse. No added sugar, no cream, no butter, no egg yolks. It was delicious and it is already gone!

Chocolate goodness without the guilt

Chocolate goodness without the guilt

A beautiful end to a beautiful day!

A beautiful end to a beautiful day!

Seize the Chocolate!

My 2013 venture into Dark Chocolate Mousse has already taught me a few things! For instance, I had been wondering whether the texture of my first mousse, after it was chilled, was meant to be so firm.

In my search for future recipes, I came across the term “seize.”

I shouted, “Seize the Chocolate!” (Or in Latin thanks to Google Translate, “Carpe Socolate!) ” My definition: “Seize” is what one does immediately after it is cool enough to eat.

Or perhaps this is something the Red Queen said at Easter when she spied a chocolate bunny.  She said, “Seize the Chocolate and bite off his head!”

(Photo credit: http://www.candyblog.net)

(Photo credit: http://www.candyblog.net)

No, that can’t be what they mean. Honestly, I had not heard “seize” used like this before and didn’t know what it meant as a cooking term. Hmmm . . . maybe I ought to know since it seems to be about chocolate.

Here’s what I found on www.recipetips.com:

As a culinary term, it refers to chocolate that becomes a stiff thick mass when being melted. It is a result of just a tiny amount of liquid or steam coming in contact with the chocolate when it is being melted, causing it to harden and become clumpy. The seized chocolate can be salvaged by adding a very small amount of cocoa butter, clarified butter or vegetable oil and stirring until the stiff mass smooths out. Do not add more than one tablespoon of the butters or oil per six ounces of chocolate. If the salvaged chocolate is going to be combined with other ingredients, realize that the texture of the finished product may be affected.
On another site, dinnerwithjulie.com, I read:

If the mixture starts to seize or break down, immediately stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream to smooth out the mixture.

I had a feeling that seizing chocolate was undesirable. I don’t recall if my dark chocolate came in contact with any steam or water, but you can be sure future melted chocolate will be protected from seizing at all costs!

This is a very handy tip, don’t you think? What is your advice on cooking with chocolate? (I need all the help I can get!)

And here’s another question:  If your chocolate seizes, do you say it had a seizure?

Classic French: January’s Dark Chocolate Mousse

It’s time to try my very first dark chocolate mousse recipe ever!

I gave a lot of thought to how I would start my monthly mousse adventure in which I will try a different dark chocolate mousse recipe each month during 2013.  Do I want to start off with a vegan recipe or some kind of alternative ingredients?  Start with whatever looks the simplest and later get into something more complex?  Try to invent the recipe right off the bat? If not, then whose recipe do I use?

I started my search and found a handful of “to die for” dark chocolate mousse recipes and chose to begin with a classic recipe as rendered by one of the most famous french cooking teachers of all time–Julia Child!

No one would be better to learn from–she a Paris-trained chef who wanted to help American women learn the art of french cooking–teaching me, a neophyte mousse maker venturing into the deep end of desserts.  I got the idea while doing a Google search for recipes and came across a David Lebovitz adaptation from Julia’s famous book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I was all set to use this adaptation but decided to get the recipe from the source herself.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

“Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck

After looking at several likely cookbook teachers (Betty Kettlebottom Crocker, Mark Bittman, the editor of Cook’s Illustrated, Rachael Ray and others) I decided that Julia’s Chocolate Mousse recipe will set an excellent standard for comparison with others I will make for the rest of the series. In fact, I was so impressed with this book and the way it instructs, I bought it.

She states:

Among all the recipes for chocolate mousse this is one of the best, we think;

I shopped for all my ingredients and I embarked upon my first ever Dark Chocolate Mousse!

This mousse consists of semi-sweet dark chocolate, sugar, egg yolks, unsalted butter, a couple spoonfuls of strong coffee and orange liqueur. That’s it! I did alter the recipe a bit by substituting organic, unrefined cane sugar in place of the extra fine white sugar called for. This is still sugar–there’s no way to deny that–but at least it is less refined and retains some of its minerals. (I will definitely get into sugar-free versions later in the series.)

The instructions in this book were so easy to follow! Once I had all the ingredients ready, such as the butter softened and the chocolate weighed out, it only took my husband and me about 20 minutes to make this mousse.

The first step says:

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and falls back upon itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon.

That turned out to be a perfect description of how this first mixture would look. We used a handheld electric mixer but you can also use a wire whisk. We continued beating this yolk mixture after moving it to the stove and putting the bowl over a pot of not-quite-simmering water. Then it was off the stove and putting the yellow mixture over a bowl of ice water until the mixture cooled again and we achieved the desired “ribbons.”

“How did they figure out all these steps?” my husband asked.

“Just three women playing around with eggs and things,” I said.

Next we melted the chocolate and beat the butter into it. This is when I really understood that this dessert should be served in pettite portions.  Thank goodness we already cut the recipe in half! No use tempting ourselves with five cups of butter, sugar and chocolate at one time!

Freshly made, this dessert was very smooth and mousse-like. Excellent for a first attempt! We did our little photo shoot before putting the rest of the mousse in the refrigerator. Here is Miss January!

We used a color wheel to determine that Miss January would look smashing dressed in purple silk with a touch of mint green bling.

We used a color wheel to determine that Miss January would look smashing dressed in purple silk with a touch of mint green bling.

The rest went into the refrigerator and I took a little taste the next day. It was firmer than I expected. My solution was to bring it out of the refrigerator a short while before serving it and the mousse quickly became creamy again.

I note here that David L’s adaptation includes folding in beaten egg whites. This would definitely affect the density and is one of the options given in MTAOFC. I am considering making the original Juila Child recipe again using her egg white option and if I do, I will let you know how that turns out.

And what did our Dark Chocolate Mousse Aficionado think of this month’s classic french dessert? He liked it better after it had been chilled:

Great texture–really creamy even right out of the refrigerator. Thick, but not sticky. If I chew it, I detect a slight graininess from the type of sugar we used, but overall it is very creamy. The orange flavor is more developed and the color is darker now, like you would expect.  I’m tasting layers of flavors–creamy chocolatiness followed by the orange. A little cognac poured over this would be good!

~~~

The idea here was to duplicate this recipe and I did that except for the type of sugar. For this reason, I cannot include the entire recipe here because it isn’t mine. I didn’t “adapt” it, I followed it almost exactly.  This is a point of personal integrity as well as legal copyright and I’m sure you understand.

If you don’t want to purchase the entire cookbook, check with your local library to see if they have copies, browse the local bookstore to find the exact recipe or try the David Lebovitz adaptation.

I have never made this dessert before and usually don’t work with sugar, egg yolks and this much butter. This is foreign territory for me which is what makes it fun, even if risky!  How much will the outcome of these 2013 mousse recipes be determined by the composition of the recipes themselves and how much by the fact that they are being prepared by me–a novice?

Now that I have my first dark chocolate mousse classic under my belt (Literally. No doubt this experiment will go straight to my waist and continue south), I will forge ahead on my Quest and perhaps I will create a fabulous dark chocolate mousse recipe of my own or come up with the cleverest of adaptations to give you.

Do you have a favorite dark chocolate mousse recipe to recommend or have you got one of your own? Let us know and send us your link!