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Raw eggs & chocolate mousse


Lucas'mom
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Back in 1983 Craig Claiborne & Pierre Franey published a recipe in the NY Times for a chocolate mousse cake. You make the mousse, bake 3/4 of it, and use the remaining 1/4 to frost the cooled cake. It's spectacular. Recently, I unearthed the recipe and made it for a women's group dinner. Needless to say, I was asked whether the dish included raw eggs, and had to confess it did. Do others still make such throw-backs to a bygone era? I read on the American Egg Association website that the risk of salmonella is something like 1 in 20,000. What do others think?

Lucas' mom

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I've never seen them in my local supermarket, but there's supposed to be "irradiated" (I don't think I spelled that right) eggs in the shell - maybe they're labeled pasteurized? - that could work for this recipe. I can get pasteurized liquid eggs from my distributor, but that's not something available in the local supermarket. :sad:

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Back in 1983 Craig Claiborne & Pierre Franey published a recipe in the NY Times for a chocolate mousse cake. You make the mousse, bake 3/4 of it, and use the remaining 1/4 to frost the cooled cake. It's spectacular. Recently, I unearthed the recipe and made it for a women's group dinner. Needless to say, I was asked whether the dish included raw eggs, and had to confess it did. Do others still make such throw-backs to a bygone era? I read on the American Egg Association website that the risk of salmonella is something like 1 in 20,000. What do others think?

Lucas' mom

There are probably a number of ways to make this cake "safely", depending on how the mousse is made. If you give us a better idea of the actual recipe, there may be some obvious solution to make it salmonella-free!

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I use raw eggs occasionally (and older recipes).........but I always (with-out any exceptions) use pastrurized eggs. I get yolks and whites in seperate containers and use them, replacing each by weight in recipes. All my local grocery stores carry both so hopefully you won't have a hard time finding them either.

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I've never seen them in my local supermarket, but there's supposed to be "irradiated" (I don't think I spelled that right) eggs in the shell - maybe they're labeled pasteurized? - that could work for this recipe. 

Good guess, but actually pasteurization refers specifically to heat-treatment of a product. FDA has approved irradiation for shell eggs and apparently they are available in some places, but I've never seen them in any stores in my area, at least not labeled as such.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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BTW, I don't hesistate to use raw eggs in recipes I make for myself. I just use fresh eggs and try to keep them from being too warm too long. I would not be comfortable doing this commercially, but for things I'm making and serving myself, I don't worry too much.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Call me reckless, but I mousse without a second thought, strew runny poached eggs over everything and encourage the kids to lick the beaters when we make chocolate chip cookies.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Call me wreckless, but I mousse without a second thought, strew runny poached eggs over everything and encourage the kids to like the beaters when we make chocolate chip cookies.

Once I asked my wife's grandmother about this, and she laughed. She said she'd been using raw or "undercooked" eggs her entire life, and as far as she knew no one had ever been sick as a result.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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At both Bellagio and Robuchon we used raw fresh eggs in several recipes. Didn't seem to be an issue or problem at all.

And by the way, don't think that making a pate a bombe or italian meringue with hot sugar syrup will "cook" the eggs enough to make them "safe". It would take a full boil to kill all the bacteria and those methods don't get the eggs hot enough.

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And by the way, don't think that making a pate a bombe or italian meringue with hot sugar syrup will "cook" the eggs enough to make them "safe". It would take a full boil to kill all the bacteria and those methods don't get the eggs hot enough.

True enough, but there is a difference between pasteurization and sterilization, and eggs that have been brought to 160F for several seconds would indeed be considered pasteurized even if not sterilized. According to the Wikipedia entry on pasteurization, it is estimated that the HTST (high temperature/short time) pasteruization used with most milk, which involved heating to 161.5F for 15 seconds, achieves a 5-log reduction of viable microorganisms in milk, so that only 0.00001 times the original amount is present in the milk. I assume a similar reduction would occur in eggs, and while that would not make the eggs sterile, it would certainly reduce the already small risk of bacterial illness by several orders of magnitude.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Call me reckless, but I mousse without a second thought, strew runny poached eggs over everything and encourage the kids to lick the beaters when we make chocolate chip cookies.

Same here...the risk of Salmonella is minute if you buy your eggs fresh and store them properly. Just ask Alton Brown :smile:

I love the mousse from Herme's Chocolate book and it uses raw egg whites. The other mousse I make is a Jamie Oliver recipe and he too uses raw yolks. So it is not just old recipes of a bygonne era that understand the great potential of raw eggs.

Like Patrick and Wendy said though, pasteurized eggs should be available at your supermarket these days.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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This topic reminds me of something I'd been wondering about.

I remember reading that salmonella (from eggs) was to do with the contamination of the outside of the shell, not with the contents. So if one were careful about washing eggs before using them, would that more or less cancel out any risk of salmonella poisoning? (Not that I plan to start washing all my eggs - I cheerfully lick beaters, eat bits of cookies dough, and enjoy un-cooked mousses)

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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From the American Egg Board...American Egg Board

The bacteria is being found INSIDE the egg.

The inside of an egg was once considered almost sterile. But, over recent years, the bacterium Salmonella enteritidis (Se) has been found inside a small number of eggs. Scientists estimate that, on average across the U.S., only 1 of every 20,000 eggs might contain the bacteria. So, the likelihood that an egg might contain Se is extremely small – 0.005% (five one-thousandths of one percent). At this rate, if you’re an average consumer, you might encounter a contaminated egg once every 84 years.

. Are Salmonella bacteria most likely to be found in the egg's white or yolk? 

Bacteria, if they are present at all, are most likely to be in the white and will be unable to grow, mostly due to lack of nutrients. As the egg ages, however, the white thins and the yolk membrane weakens. This makes it possible for bacteria to reach the nutrient-dense yolk where they can grow over time if the egg is kept at warm temperatures. But, in a clean, uncracked, fresh shell egg, internal contamination occurs only rarely.

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In addition, they recommend NOT separating eggs using the shell halves as the bacteria can also imprenate itself in the pores of the shell, potentially surviving the washing process...

This message was brought to you by a beater licking, raw dough eating, bowl scraping baker...

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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The only way eggs can carry Salmonella is if the chicken that laid the egg was infected with Salmonella. If you can get eggs from a healthy flock that you know, there is virtually no risk of Salmonella. Organic, "free-range" eggs from the store are also safer than conventional eggs.

I always use our own chickens' eggs raw, but if I had to use eggs from the store, I would be sure to cook them.

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Salmonella is indeed found inside eggs, as Cheryl points out. It can get in from the outside, because the pores in the egg shell are so much larger than a bacterium, or it can be in the egg from the moment it forms if the hen has an active Salmonella infection when the egg is forming.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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The only way eggs can carry Salmonella is if the chicken that laid the egg was infected with Salmonella.  If you can get eggs from a healthy flock that you know, there is virtually no risk of Salmonella.  Organic, "free-range" eggs from the store are also safer than conventional eggs.

According to the research I've seen, organic and free range eggs are not any less likely to be Salmonella-postive than run of the mill eggs. For instance, Bailey and Cosby (2005) reported:

Many consumers assume that broiler chickens grown under traditional commercial conditions will have more Salmonella than free-range or organic chickens, which usually are less crowded, have access to outside spaces during grow out, and are fed special diets. Despite these perceptions, there is a lack of published information about the microbiological status of free-range and organic chickens. A total of 135 processed free-range chickens from four different commercial free-range chicken producers were sampled in 14 different lots for the presence of Salmonella. Overall, 9 (64%) of 14 lots and 42 (31%) of 135 of the carcasses were positive for Salmonella. No Salmonella were detected in 5 of the 14 lots, and in one lot 100% of the chickens were positive for Salmonella. An additional 53 all-natural (no meat or poultry meal or antibiotics in the feed) processed chickens from eight lots were tested; 25% of the individual chickens from 37% of these lots tested positive for Salmonella. Three lots of chickens from a single organic free-range producer were tested, and all three of the lots and 60% of the individual chickens were positive for Salmonella. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service reported that commercial chickens processed from 2000 to 2003 had a Salmonella prevalence rate of 9.1 to 12.8%. Consumers should not assume that free-range or organic conditions will have anything to do with the Salmonella status of the chicken.

Bailey and Cosby, 2005. Salmonella Prevalence in Free-Range and Certified Organic Chickens. Journal of Food Protection 68, pp. 2451-2453.

A similar survey of eggs by the UK's Food Standards Agency a couple of years ago found no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of Salmonella on organic, free range, or conventionaly mass produced eggs.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Thanks for the info, PatrickS.

I guess it depends on how "organic" and "free-range" the chickens are. Some brands of eggs are actually pretty good (small flocks, the chickens actually go outside), while others keep their chickens like conventional ones, but feed them organic feed.

If the chickens are not stressed and they eat a more natural diet (animal protein such as fish and insect (chickens are not vegetarians!), no soy or overprocessed grains), it is unlikely that they will have Salmonella. Any crowding will cause stress, so if the chickens are kept inside they are more likely to be diseased.

Kelsey

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Thanks for the info, PatrickS. 

You're certainly welcome!

Any crowding will cause stress, so if the chickens are kept inside they are more likely to be diseased.

Yet in the study cited above, 31% of the free range chicken carcasses were positive for salmonella, compared only 9.1 to 12.8% in commercial chickens, and in the UK's FSA survey of salmonella in shell eggs, there was no significant difference in salmonella prevalence between free-range eggs and other types of eggs. So apparently any anti-infectious disease effect associated with a free range existence is being mitigated by or even outweighed by some other factor.

Stress can certainly influence susceptibility to infectious disease, but the single biggest determinant of prevalence will always be exposure to the relevant pathogen, and it may be the case that free range conditions might actually provide more opportunities for chicken-to-chicken transmission of salmonella than a conventional caged environment.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Where I work, we use raw egg whites and yolks all the time. The retail staff has a list of ingredients of all of our products, so that anyone who is concerned can get an answer. (The mousses all use raw yolks and whites, as is the meringue on the lime tartlets (it's a Swiss meringue and probably not cooked enough to count), and our pot de crème has raw yolks (though they're tempered with boiling cream).

Hasn't seemed to have been a problem yet.

I remember years ago on the Food network when Debbie Fields (aka Mrs. Fields) had a dessert show, that she'd recommend that if you wanted to eat the cookie batter she was mixing, to leave out the eggs. :blink::unsure:

Not that I ever did, or have. I am a certified beater licker, raw cookie dough nibbler, and pot de crème snarfer! :biggrin:

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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When we make meringues in school we almost always make a swiss meringue, which involves heating the egg-sugar mixture to about 145, and according to them, that takes care of most egg-borne disease. Of course, if you're serving a nursing home or have a lawsuit-happy clientele, go for the pasteurized.

Rico

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When we make meringues in school we almost always make a swiss meringue, which involves heating the egg-sugar mixture to about 145, and according to them, that takes care of most egg-borne disease.

As pointed out before pasteurisation involves both a temperature and time element. In other words, you have to hold whatever it is you're treating at a certain temperature for a certain length of time. The higher the temperature, the shorter the time needed. I guess the standards vary somewhat across different countries but if you're pasteurising at a low temperature (which you need to do with eggs or they will scramble) the standard we work with here is 65C (149F) for 30 mins.

However, that's the commercial end. When I'm tucking into chocolate mousse at home, I wouldn't dream of heating the egg whites! I get fresh eggs off a local farm, whip it up, and tuck in...

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate - that's my philosophy”

- Thornton Wilder

Shameless link to Kieranm's blog...

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