Saturday, 31 January 2009

Paleo Chocolate Mousse - The Recipe Challenge

There is a famous episode of the the Morecambe and Wise Show, a UK comedy production from the late 60s and 70s, in which André Previn guest stars. Eric Morecambe repeatedly frustrates the renowned conductor, musician and composer by playing a childish ditty on the piano at a crucial moment in the Grieg piece he is conducting. Finally, Previn comes over to remonstrate with Morecambe.

"You're playing all the wrong notes!"

Morecambe looks away and bares his teeth, before taking Previn by the collar.

"I'm playing all the right notes," he says, "but not necessarily in the right order."

The full clip is embedded at the end of the post.
Bloody Mindedness
So what has this to do with a recipe challenge? Whenever I have some new baking recipe idea, I think of this punchline. I know what the ingredients should be, but rarely have any clear idea of the quantities. There have been countless instances of experimentation gone wrong, with the end result being regarded as inedible by everyone else, leaving me to doggedly work through the entire batch out of a combination of bloody mindedness and greed.

I use all the right ingredients, but not necessarily in the right amounts.

So - I believe I know the ingredients for a fantastic Paleo orange chocolate mousse. I was about to attempt to make it yesterday when I realised the likelihood of immediate success was low. If an infinite number of monkeys were put in an infinite number of kitchens with the ingredients I have in mind, then one of them would come up with the perfect result; but I have only one kitchen and a distinct shortage of monkeys.
For someone like me with little or no innate grasp of baking, good recipes evolve through many iterations of trial and error - and I have not the time or patience to embark on such a project at the moment. Moreover, in the likely event that Mrs M deems the output of my early efforts to be unacceptable, I will doubtless find myself troughing through the lot in a single sitting, which would not be good for my current program of Christmas fat reduction, even if the ingredients are technically Paleo. Readers who recall my Paleo apple crumble experience will know what I mean...
The Challenge
So - I am appealing to all you readers who have a baking instinct honed over the years, to suggest the proportions in which the following ingredients might be combined to make a wonderful Paleo orange chocolate mousse. That way I reckon we can beat the odds and get pretty close on a first attempt.

Here are my proposed ingredients:

- Cocoa powder
- Coconut oil or Coconut cream (the solid block form)
- Chestnut flour or almond meal
- Freshly squeezed orange juice

The chestnut flour is sweet, so that would be my preference (plus I have some already!) The almond meal might not be sweet enough but I am thinking the orange juice ought to take care of that. I find coconut cream and cocoa powder tend to bring out the sweetness in a mixture, so perhaps it could still work with almond meal.

I am looking forward to your ideas - in the meantime, here is a video clip of the Morecambe and Wise comedy sketch. If you have not seen it before (this can't possible include anyone in the UK!) then it's definitely worth a watch.

See Also:
Paleo Apple Crumble and the Chestnut Tojan Horse - Bending the Rules to Breaking Point


Sweet Sugarlee said...

Never heard of a mousse using flour before...I'd probably guess better luck at doing a sort of custard with coconut milk & eggs. Like this (, but maybe exchange the milk proportion with a little less to accommodate for adding some orange juice, and throw in maybe 1/4 cup of cocoa powder? A little Stevia?

Methuselah said...

Thanks Sarah - I am a bit of a stodge-fiend, so that might explain why I felt the need to include flour. I did wonder about eggs, but my concern is that they would have to be raw, right? In the UK we cannot really eat eggs raw, but I have been looking for places to buy pasteurised eggs which might be the answer.

The custard idea might work. I need to find those eggs.

On the other hand, I am now wondering whether I could make some kind of chocolate orange brownies with the ingredients I listed....!?

Sweet Sugarlee said...

I've been thinking/browsing some more (heehee, what can I say, your post set off a bit of a mousse craving for myself as well ;) and found this really interesting idea: using avocado as the base! (

"two avocados, a half cup of hot, black coffee, two tablespoons of raw cocoa powder and kept adding Agave nectar until I reached the desired sweetness."

So, I would probably nix the agave nectar, and add a few TBS orange juice and/or fresh orange zest, but I still think you might need a bit of stevia to get more of a "desserty" sweetness.

BJ said...

Not much of a baker myself. Question though, is there some problem with eating raw eggs in the UK?

Sarah, might have to try that avocado one. I already know I would eat the egg one. Always looking for more ways to use avocado. Though I definitely try to lessen the need for the sweeteners.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you eat banana's, but a fresh or frozen banana can make a nice creamy base. I made one with coconut cream, banana and cocoa powder and it was tasty. I also would take what Sarah said and use orange zest for a better flavor than just using orange juice.

Asclepius said...

This could be another example of 'providence'! For the past few days I have been looking at getting one of these:

Two hens, 600 eggs per annum! Just got to get Mrs A to agree. Maybe the promise of egg-based goodies would assist?

Methuselah said...

Sarah - thanks for this - now we're talking. Avocado is a big favourite of mine, and I frequently eat raw unsweetened cocoa powder by the spoonful. I have several over-ripe avocados in the fridge right now so this is an opportunity to experiment. I will probably skip the sweeteners initially to see whether there is savoury potential, then look at ways of adding fruit to sweeten.

Joseph - yes raw eggs are a problem in the UK. Not sure what the real odds are of getting salmonella, but we've been conditioned to believe it's a danger. I am looking into soures of pasteurised raw egg.

Special K - I do eat banana - I think banana + coconut cream + cocoa powder sounds good, but of course will probably screw up the amounts. I just need a few more monkeys....

Asclepius - go for it. My boss has some chickens in his garden. Apparently they are not too pleased about this cold weather, but they are still laying eggs!

Anonymous said...

The egg-whites would have to be beaten to stiff peaks, then tempered and then folded slowly with the heated coconut/cocoa mixture (this will cook the eggs)chill until firm. The orange zest or juice could be added to the coconut/cocoa mixture.
Now I'm going to have to try this!

Marisa said...

Here's a chocolate brownie recipe I've been working on - hope you like it, and kudos to the very excellent, very inspirational videos "paleo in a nutshell" ...

1 c. nut butter (almond butter, coconut butter*, cashew butter, or 1 1/4 c. almond meal)
3 eggs
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. honey
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together until incorporated; bake in 8x8 or 9x9 or small rectangular dish and bake at 350 for 30 min. If you don't mind a non-paleo ingredient, a small handful (1/4 c.) of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips add to the chocolate-ness. Yum!

To make it "orangey" I'd add orange extract v. orange juice b/c it would water down the recipe and turn it into cake rather than a brownie. But orange-chocolate cake wouldn't be bad either.


Methuselah said...

Marisa - this sounds nice. We will try it. Thanks for sharing.

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