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Spanish Chocolate Mousse With, Shhhh, Olive Oil

No, it will not collapse. No, it does not taste oily. Basque chef Teresa Barrenechea makes this silky chocolate mousse at her Manhattan restaurant, Marichu. "More and more, people don't want to eat so much cream," she says. "I don't tell guests this dessert contains olive oil when I serve it. I wait until I hear them murmuring, 'Mmh-mmmh.' " The chocolate flavor is intense, and there's a hint of berry, but in spite of the generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil, its flavor is subtle. Embellishment isn't necessary, but Teresa sometimes serves the dessert with an orange sauce.We prefer raspberries.

6 ounces very good sweet dark chocolate (such as Lindt, Callebaut or Ghirardelli), chopped
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted after measuring
1/4 cup double-espresso coffee, at room temperature, or 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons Chambord or Cointreau
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan over very low heat. Let cool to lukewarm.

In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the coffee and Chambord just to combine. Then stir in the melted chocolate. Add the olive oil and mix well.

Thoroughly wash the beaters so that they are free of grease. In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites until almost stiff. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and whisk until patches of white disappear. Repeat, whisking the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture, 1/3 at a time, until patches of white disappear. Do not overmix.

Transfer the mousse into a pretty bowl or individual dessert dishes, cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve cold with raspberries. Makes 6 servings.

Teresa Barrenechea

Thursday, December 27, 2001

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