I have been thinking a lot about France since I saw Ratatouille. Sometimes I really miss it. I only lived there for 16 months but it was such a life changing experience that sometimes I feel like it was home. The whole time I was there - I missed Arizona - but now I definitely go through periods when I miss France.
July 14th was Bastille Day - it is sort of like a French Independence Day. In July of 1991 I was living in the most beautiful city of Carcassonne. You may recognize it from the movie Camelot or from the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie. It is such a beautiful place - this was the view from our apartment - what you are looking at is the ancient walled city that they call La Cite. Very few live in the walled city now - it is mostly full of souvenir shops and museums etc... On Bastille day - they shoot fireworks off of the walls and make it look like the city is on fire - a re-creation of the burning of the citadel. I lifted this picture from the web - it is a sight to behold.
So, in honor of Bastille Day - I am posting one of my favorite French recipes. It is a simple chocolate mousse that anyone can make with ease - it is from the Jacques Pepin Celebrations cookbook (he is my favorite French chef). I make it for special occasions like Valentine's Day or Christmas Eve as it is very rich. If you spoon it into a chocolate pie crust it makes a decadent French Silk pie.
1 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate
1/3 cup milk
2 egg yolks from large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
With a mixer, whip the cup of cream until it holds soft peaks. Meanwhile, put the chocolate and the milk in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat until chocolate has melted and the mixture is warm and smooth. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, and mix with a whisk until incorporated. The chocolate will thicken slightly. In another bowl, beat the egg white until firm, then add the sugar all at once, and keep beating until firm and smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg white, and stir with a whisk just enough to incorporate. Add the whipped cream, and fold in gently, just until blended. Spoon into serving bowl or individual bowls (I use my fancy drink goblets that I never really use for fancy drinks) Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. I also usually top it with slightly sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings or chocolate hearts.