When I was 15, my family took a summer vacation to France. We stayed in a little village in Provence and made day trips to surrounding little villages and towns, to Cannes, and to any other scenic sites that caught my parents fancy. Being all of 15, I would have of course preferred to lounge by the pool, but for the most part I went gamely along on all of our little explorations. We toured wineries and museums, and ate lovely lunches and dinners in sidewalk cafes. I can say with great confidence that we ate our way through the South of France, and I loved every second of it. It was my first exposure to a number of new foods, like calamari (loved it!), braised rabbit (not a fan, when it came out with the head still on), and escargot (nope, my 15 year old self just couldn’t do it). And I ate copious amounts of my already-beloved chocolate mousse. Everywhere we went, I ordered mousse for dessert. I came back to Canada a good 5 lbs heavier; it was the first time in my life that I had ever gained any weight.
Chocolate mousse has steadfastly remained one of my all-time favourite desserts. Who among us can pass up that airy but insanely rich and creamy concoction? It seems like magic, the way heavy eggs and cream can become so light. It’s dangerous precisely because of this light texture…it’s far too easy to pack back a bowl of it and think it wasn’t enough, only to discover 20 minutes later that you are too full. Portion control is very difficult when it comes to chocolate mousse. And my darling children seem to bear the same affliction. They go nuts when I make mousse, and hang about like little parasites, begging to lick the bowl and beaters. What sacrifices mothers make, giving up the joy of licking the mousse bowl and beaters out of love for her children.
We went raspberry picking a few weekends ago and on the drive up, I was mulling over ways to use them. I’d been craving a really rich, decadent dessert and only chocolate would fit the bill. I wondered aloud if I should make chocolate mousse to go with our fresh-picked berries and, had you been in our car, you might have gone deaf with the cheers from the backseat. All three kids were unanimously in favour of a chocolate mousse/raspberry concoction and were oh-so-willing to help in the preparations for that nights dinner (dessert!). We decided to make one large, crisp chocolate cookie to sprinkle into our bowls as well, so we could call it a parfait.
It made a wonderful, indulgent dessert. The rich creaminess of the mousse, the crispity-crunch of the cookies, and the sweet freshness of the berries was mind-blowingly good. Perhaps even deadlier than the many bowls of mousse I ate in France. Hey, at least mine are low carb and sugar-free!
- For the mousse, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate together, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks together until smooth. When chocolate is lukewarm, whisk in egg yolks. Mixture will become very thick and chocolate will seize. Add 2 tablespoons of hot water and whisk vigorously. Continue to add 1 tablespoon water at a time until chocolate mixture becomes smooth (will still be quite thick). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites with ¼ cup powdered Swerve, the salt and the cream of tartar until they hold stiff peaks but are not dry.
- In another bowl, beat cream with remaining Swerve and the vanilla until it holds soft peaks.
- Stir a couple of large spoonfuls of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then carefully fold the chocolate mixture back into the egg whites. Fold in the cream thoroughly but gently. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- For the cookies, preheat the oven to 300F.
- In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cocao powder, erythritol, baking powder and salt. Add in egg, butter, and vanilla extract and stir well until dough comes together.
- Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll to about ⅛ inch thick. Lift off top piece of parchment and place on a large baking sheet.
- Bake until firm, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. Break up with hands into small pieces.
- To assemble parfaits, place a few tablespoons of mousse at the bottom of each serving dish. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoons of cookie crumbs and then a handful of berries.
- Top with another layer of mousse, cookie crumbs and berries.
- Serve immediately. All parts of the parfaits can be stored separately up to 48 hours, but don't assemble until just before serving, as the cookie crumbs may get soggy.
- You will probably end up with too much cookie crumb for the parfaits. It's great the next day as cereal for the kids!