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jgarner53

Mousse Mess

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This is the second time this has happened with this recipe, and I can't figure out where I've gone wrong. I'm willing to bet (since my classmates were mostly successful) that it's me, not the recipe, but my chef didn't really have an answer, and I'm hoping you wonderful people will.

This is a chocolate mousse (to be used in a mousse cake where it's chilled in a ring)

4 oz. milk chocolate

4 oz. semisweet chocolate

2 egg yolks

1 TBS. corn syrup

1 cup heavy cream

2 egg whites

Melt chocolate over bain marie. Keep warm. Heat yolks and corn syrup over bain marie, then whip until light and lemon-colored. Pour over chocolate, but do not stir. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Keep cold. Beat egg whites to medium stiff peaks. Stir chocolate and yolks together, then fold in 1/3 of cream quickly. Fold in remaining cream. Fold in egg whites.

What's been happening to me is that when I stir the egg yolks and the chocolate, it siezes. I can add a little bit of hot water, and it will loosen up (though last night this didn't work??). The other thing that happened last night, though I will attribute this to the chocolate/yolk mixture being too warm, is that the first third of the whipped cream essentially melted when I folded it in.

But why, oh why, is the chocolate siezing when I add the yolks? There should be enough liquid in the yolks, and fat, to keep that from happening, I would think. Can anyone offer me a suggestion?

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This is the second time this has happened with this recipe, and I can't figure out where I've gone wrong. I'm willing to bet (since my classmates were mostly successful) that it's me, not the recipe, but my chef didn't really have an answer, and I'm hoping you wonderful people will.

This is a chocolate mousse (to be used in a mousse cake where it's chilled in a ring)

4 oz. milk chocolate

4 oz. semisweet chocolate

2 egg yolks

1 TBS. corn syrup

1 cup heavy cream

2 egg whites

Melt chocolate over bain marie. Keep warm. Heat yolks and corn syrup over bain marie, then whip until light and lemon-colored. Pour over chocolate, but do not stir. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Keep cold. Beat egg whites to medium stiff peaks. Stir chocolate and yolks together, then fold in 1/3 of cream quickly. Fold in remaining cream. Fold in egg whites.

What's been happening to me is that when I stir the egg yolks and the chocolate, it siezes. I can add a little bit of hot water, and it will loosen up (though last night this didn't work??). The other thing that happened last night, though I will attribute this to the chocolate/yolk mixture being too warm, is that the first third of the whipped cream essentially melted when I folded it in.

But why, oh why, is the chocolate siezing when I add the yolks? There should be enough liquid in the yolks, and fat, to keep that from happening, I would think. Can anyone offer me a suggestion?

The thing I think of is maybe while over steam you got some water in with the yolks and cs. Chocolate siezes at foreign stuff, can you stir in the eggs gradually? It seems funny to let them sit there on cooling chocolate. I am but a humble student and haven't done much with chocolate yet. Good luck finding an answer!

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I just made a tart recently that said to cool down the chocolate to 104 degrees before SLOWLY adding room temperature egg yolks. I'm not sure if that's standard procedure, but you might want to try playing with how hot or cold your ingredients are.

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Are you adding the yolks to the chocolate, or the chocolate to the yolks? Streaming the chocolate in? or all at once?

Over the bain marie?

Most likely temp variations are causing this. How warm are you getting the yolk sugar mixture? If it's a bit cooler than the choc. the chocolate will chunk up as it hits the cold.

If your game for an experiment, instead of the order of ingedients you used try this:

(with all mis ready to go and whipped)

To the melted choc. add 1/4 of the whipped cream. stir to smooth out. This will bring down the temp. of the chocolate. then add the yolk mix, whipped cream and meringue at once. then fold in. With the exception of the meringue, I found this to be a foolproof method. (providing of course the ingredient list is sound in the begining :biggrin: )

HTH,

Tim

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Let the chocolate stand, without interference, until it has cooled appreciably. Stirring may cause the chocolate to stiffen or "seize" into a grainy mass – and thus become unworkable. Be prudent that not a single drop of water falls into the chocolate; meaning, additionally, that it must not be covered because of damaging condensation droptlets).

Use your instant-read thermometer to determine that both the chocolate & yolk mixture are within a few degrees of each other. Alas, because of its inherent heat sensitivity, it’s highly improbable that it can be remelted and unseized. Yet, I wonder whether any of your classmate’s seized mousse turned out acceptably? Did their chocolate emulsify?

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Yes, I'm thinking that the answer lies here in the temps of the chocolate and yolks. While the recipe is unspecific as to temperature for either, the instructions would lead me to believe that the chocolate's about 110ºF or so, and the egg yolks, having first been heated (my standard is to about 130º-140ºF), then beaten so as to lighten them and cool them down, they should be close to the same temps.

The procedure is that you leave the chocolate on the bain marie (water isn't likely because my bowl completely covered the pan) and put the yolks on top (while it's still sitting on the bm). Only once you've got everything else mised do you stir the two together. Odd procedure, but that's what the recipe says.

Tim,

if what I made last night didn't set (I didn't check it this morning), and I redo the mousse, I'll try your procedure and let you know what happens.

I made 6 minis, and only need 4, so I'll unmold one tonight to see what I've got. Of course, if I can lift the ring off without even using my blowtorch, I'll know! :biggrin:

Redsugar,

I think only one other person had a siezing problem, and her mousse seemed to turn out fine (as did mine, the first time). The only other problem people had was that they got chocolate chips when folding in the cold whipped cream, but that problem I haven't had.


Edited by jgarner53 (log)

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I think most of the bases have been covered, but there could be one more potential problem. If you are warming the yolks over a bain marie, the bottom of the bowl will be wet. Are you wiping the bottom of the bowl dry before adding the yolk mixture? If not, water could drip into the chocolatre when you hold and/or tilt the yolk bowl over it causing it to sieze.

Signed,

Someone who learned the hard way.

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the only thing that seems "off" is letting the egg yolks sit on top of the choclate. Try mixing the two together slowly, mixing a small amount of choclate into the egg yolks which will help even out the temp, then add the rest. Hope this helps

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I used to make chocolate mousse at one bakery I worked at that was exactly like yours......

except a little bit in methodology......

I didn't heat the yolks and syrup together.

I melted the chocolate and put it on the mixer with a whip.

I got my syrup boiling, and while doing so, I added the yolks (they were just whole yolks-unwhipped and unheated) to the melted chocolate with the mixer running. The chocolate seized a bit, but I just scraped down the bowl a few times and kept whipping and it all smoothed out. Then I streamed in the hot syrup, scraped down the bowl a few more times and whipped til smooth. Then I folded in the first part of my cream to loosen it all up, then folded in the second part of cream and finally the whites. This mousse was somewhat soupy, but it was supposed to be, because that's what we used to fill our cake rings. Once set up, it was nice and fluffy and smooth.

Now about this:

I'm willing to bet (since my classmates were mostly successful) that it's me, not the recipe, but my chef didn't really have an answer, and I'm hoping you wonderful people will.

I must ask, what kind of "chef" is instructing your class that doesn't have a clue when it comes

to troubleshooting? One of the main reasons an instructor is there is to help you sort out any problems you may be having. If I were the instructor, I would certainly never give my students a recipe to use that I didn't know inside and out. The better you know a recipe, the more you know

what it's supposed to do and look like. That said, one would know exactly what went wrong when a student had a problem with it. Why your chef couldn't help you is a bit of a puzzler to me!

:huh:


Edited by chefpeon (log)

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She had just never seen that problem before. I don't doubt her expertise, skill, or knowledge. I don't know why she hadn't seen it before. She did offer a guess as to the temp of the chocolate and yolks.

She's been working in pastry for 20 years, has worked mainly for two of the top patisseries in San Francisco, and now has her own successful wedding cake business. So I doubt that she has a lack of experience, or that Tante Marie's would hire her if she were a hack.

I must ask, what kind of "chef" is instructing your class that doesn't have a clue when it comes to troubleshooting?

I have to say that this really gets my hackles up. First of all, to question the credentials of someone you don't know, and second, to assume that every instructor should always have all the answers 100% of the time is a bit arrogant. Do you always have all the answers? Have you never come across something that puzzled you?

I'd rather have a teacher who admitted she didn't know something and would research to find the answer than one who made up shit or told me I was stupid for making a mistake. :angry:

I came here to hopefully augment what I'm learning in school, not for her to be attacked. For the record, she did suggest when my chocolate and yolks siezed, that I add a bit of hot water to salvage it, and it worked perfectly, which I believe I stated before. She is also usually going 100 miles a minute answering questions and assisting students in any given class, and this one was particularly busy.

Edited to add rant.


Edited by jgarner53 (log)

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Hey whoa.....

I'm truly sorry if you thought my post was an attack of any sort.

I'm also sorry you viewed it as arrogant.

NOT my intention!

Please accept my apologies. I'm not here to attack or question people's credentials, really.

I just was puzzled.....I mean, you're taking a pastry course and I would assume that

the instructor would be fully qualified to teach it....I'm sure you're paying good money for the school and you're working hard.....and I'm sure the teacher is too. It's not easy, I know. My

husband is a teacher....it can be a thankless job sometimes.

The reason I questioned the abilities of your instructor is that I got the feeling you had

no confidence in her response to your mousse mess.....otherwise, why would you be asking questions of us? Deep down you knew there had to be a reason for what went wrong and she couldn't provide it to you. She was THERE....we weren't. If she didn't know, why would we?

Also on another thread, you had mentioned that you made Concorde Meringues in class, but

the teacher hadn't made a demo or provided any type of picture regarding the classic appearance of a Concorde. That puzzled me too, because it's pretty easy to explain and

demonstrate (without making a demo) how a Concorde goes together without a picture.

If you are all making them in class and she's there, why isn't she taking you step by step

through the process? I'm baffled. It's just one of those things that make you go, "hmmm",

but granted, I don't know the whole story. That's why I was asking.

No, I don't have all the answers. Sure wish I did. The day I stop learning is the day I die.

I learn new stuff all the time, and I love to pass on all the things I've learned to others. Which is the main reason I post here. This career, and life in general has made me somewhat cynical also......I question everything, and by doing so, I realize I may piss some people off. But again,

there was no vicious intentions in my question to you....I was just wondering...that's all.

Again, I'm really sorry if I offended you.


Edited by chefpeon (log)

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Anne,

Sorry if I flew off the handle a bit. With the CA Culinary Academy in my back yard, and it's highfalutin Cordon Bleu status, sometimes I feel like I'm at Joe's Cooking School - even though Tante Marie's has been around for more than 20 years, and is pretty well respected in this city. Even if the founder is a bit, uh, quirky (all her recipes are volumetric?? not what you'd expect if you're in a professional course--my instructor's recipes are all by weight).

Initially, I was asking the question because the same problem had happened to me again (making this mousse at home, where my teacher couldn't be of any help), even after I'd been more careful (yes, the bottom of the egg yolk bowl was dry) the second time.

Re the Concorde, and the lack of demo, she did describe it to us, but it was kind of hard to get a visual without some kind of reference. I think part of the trouble, too, is that at my school, we have limited oven space, and with 14 people each with at least one or two sheet pans in the oven, getting another one in for the extra meringue bits was pretty much out of the question. So finishing it properly was impossible.

The school has a full-time culinary program as well as our part-time pastry program (in the same space), so if Rachel is going to have a demo, she either has to do it live or bring it in from work. That night, we were also doing dacquoise and succès, so her primary concern was demoing the piping of the meringues in general, rather than completing one of these. It is perhaps less than optimal, but all things considered, I think she's doing a pretty good job, and we're turning out some decent pastry.

She did bring a picture of the Concorde in the next night (in Lenotre's book).

Ultimately, the mousse turned out OK. It's a little denser than I would like, but it seems to hold up OK. I'll redo it again soon using one of these alternate methods, and hopefully get it perfect! I've found that when I have a problem with something in class, it frequently helps to make the item again at home, when I'm not slammed for time.

And now I'm off to warm up my piping chocolate to decorate the glaze (hooray, I can temper -- even if it isn't strictly necessary for this dessert) for my mini mousses. :smile:

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O.k.........I've gotta add my two cents. First, making a chocolate mousse with that small of amount of ingredients is actually harder to do then a huge batch. It's just too little.........so everystep, every temp. becomes magnified in it's importance. It's very similar to learning how to temper chocolate with 1 cup of chocolate. It's just harder to do somethings in small amounts! I know this might seem risky to you if your worried about waste, but I really do think you'll do better tripleing or at least doubling that recipe.

When you have a small amount of chocolate it's hard to incorporate something else into it. I'd suggest that 3 things factored against you......and in that regard as the teacher I think I would have chosen a little simplier chocolate mousse recipe as my introduction (skiped the yolks and corn syrup altogether).

1. The time, between making and incorporating the rest of the ingredients is too long given the amount of ingredients....letting your chocolate set-up (not sieze). The warm water helped melt out/heat-up your chocolate. I would have had all my components ready at the same time for that particular recipe.

2. The temp.'s, cooled down waiting for the other ingredients as you prepared them. You have to work darn fast with that small of amount of ingred..

3. Method, being too timid to force the too cooled chocolate into submission. That's my best guess where you might have varied from your roommates. You can't be shy/timid when working with that small amount of chocolate. Literally a couple seconds in delay can make the difference in how well you ingredients incorporated when you dealing in that volume.

Even with larger batches of chocolate mousse you need to pay attention to the temp. of the chocolate. If your chocolate becomes too cool it's very hard to incorporate the other ingredients. I also wonder if when you thought that your whipped cream melted.......that you might have underwhipped them (in a non-anglaise type mousse you can whip your cream stiffer and achieve the proper texture in your finished mousse) because it's hard to melt you whipped cream in that small of a volume heated chocolate. Typically when I see whipped cream melt out it's when it's added to an anglaise based mousse where there is a large volume of liquid easily sufficant to melt out whipped cream.

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