Our experiments with raising poultry in the city are exactly that: experiments. Tucked away in many parts of south, central and north Philadelphia are poultry markets with all sorts of foul smelling fowl. Picture gringo Andrew and his apathetic brown boyfriend driving from live poultry market to live poultry market trying to buy and leave with a live boy rabbit to breed with the two female rabbits.
Somehow gesturing to genitalia seemed to be the only way for the language barrier to be broken.
Somehow we also walked away with a duck.
Somehow I made the duck eggs into a delicious chocolate mousse.
Duck Egg Chocolate Mousse with Kosher Salt
Adapted from Bon Appétit
What you need:
1 cup chilled heavy cream
4 large duck or chicken eggs, separated
1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee, chilled
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar, 2 for the mousse, 1 for the whipped cream
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces or about a half bag of Ghiradelli dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (or a combo of both)
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar (optional)
NOTE: This recipe seems daunting at first, but pretty simple and uses a lot of forearm and bicep strength to whisk and fold together. (I hear mousse-making is the new cross-fit). I’ve tried both chicken and duck eggs, with the duck eggs being much richer and denser in texture. Use high quality chocolate whenever possible. The cheap grocery store baker’s chocolate for whatever reason didn’t work as well and left lumps. I’m not a pro, but I’m assuming it has something to do with melting temperature. Also, my mom taught me that refrigerating/freezing your metal bowls and whisks help make whipping heavy cream easy. (More on my version of her famous pistachio cake in a future recipe.)
For the mousse:
Beat 1 cup chilled cream in cold metal bowl until stiff peaks form; cover and chill.
Combine duck egg yolks, cold espresso, vanilla, salt and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large metal bowl. Whisk to combine.
Set up a double boiler (about an inch or two of simmering water in a large pot with the metal bowl placed on top. Make sure the hot water doesn’t touch.)
Whisk constantly as the mixture thickens until a thermometer reads about 155-160 degrees. The color will look muddy. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth.
Remove from water. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until cool to the touch. (Very important not to rush otherwise the heat will deflate your whites).
Using an electric mixer , beat 4 egg whites on medium speed until foamy. With mixer running, add 1 Tbsp. sugar and cream of tartar. Let the mixer do its thing until stiff peaks form. About 2 minutes.
Working in batches, gradually fold in the stiffed whites, scraping the sides of the bowl and gently combining towards the center of the bowl (DON’T MIX!). Try to maintain as much of the air as possible.
Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into mixture just to blend.
Divide mousse among six teacups, ramekins or small mason jars. Use whatever you’ve got!
Cover with plastic wrap to keep the mousse from tasting like orphaned refrigerator items and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
Before serving, sprinkle the tiniest bit of kosher or sea salt and a little extra white sugar, then dollop whipped cream over the mousse. Garnish with mint, or berries or just shovel it in your mouth. The original recipe says you can do this a day ahead, but I find from personal experience that they don’t last that long especially amongst those with no will power.
Serves 5 to 8 depending on your vessel of choice. Dig in. Keep leftovers (if any) away from conspiring pets.