Another week, same cookbook: the Brombergs had so many to choose from. First Spicy Egg Shooters, now dessert. Read on for a sweet treat from two sibling chefs with a passion “for making whatever they make the best it can be.” This one comes with a great story.
October 25, 1992. One week prior to opening Blue Ribbon, we place a call to Paris: “Bruno, help!”
The faint reply from the other side of the ocean: “Don’t worry, guys, I’ll be there. Besides, I could use a break.”
And with that, our mentor, Chef Bruno Hess from Le Recamier restaurant in Paris, was on his way to the rescue.
Bruno worked four nearly 24-hour days in a row, sleeping on the floor of the dining room while helping us get to opening day. Some break!
One of the nights during his stay we attacked the famed Fondant Chocolat, a dense chocolate mousse that was one of Bruno’s specialties in Paris. Due to the differences between American and French eggs and butter, we couldn’t get the recipe to work at all. We were incredibly frustrated; it was something we’d made hundreds of times before in France, so why wasn’t it coming out right in SoHo? By sunrise, and several hundreds of eggs later, we arrived at something completely different but perhaps even more delicious than the original. It could no longer be called Fondant Chocolat. Voilà, the birth of Chocolate Bruno.
5 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 ounces graham crackers (½ sleeve, or 4 full crackers), crushed (1 cup)
18 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons brewed espresso
8 large egg yolks
8 large egg whites
1 tablespoon sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for serving
Hot Fudge, for serving
Raspberries, for serving (optional)
1. Line the bottom of 6 (8-ounce) ramekins with parchment or wax paper. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water, melt the white chocolate; stir in the graham crackers. Divide equally among the prepared molds, using a spoon to spread evenly on each base.
Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
2. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water, melt the semisweet chocolate and butter with the espresso.
Let cool for 2 minutes. Stir in (do not whisk) the yolks until just incorporated.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the
whites until foamy. Slowly add the sugar and increase the speed. Beat until the
whites form soft, floppy peaks.
4. Fold a little bit of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon the mousse into the molds and level the tops with an offset spatula or spoon. Chill until set, about 3 hours or overnight.
5. To serve, gently dip the bottoms of the ramekins in a bowl of hot water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Run a spatula along the edges of each ramekin (outside the parchment paper) and pop out the mousse. Remove the paper. Transfer the desserts to plates and dust with cocoa powder. Serve with a drizzle of hot fudge and raspberries, if desired.
Note: Pregnant women, the elderly, and people who have compromised immune systems should exercise caution when consuming the raw eggs in this recipe.
Blue Ribbon Wisdom
Chocolate, White and Otherwise
White chocolate can be a pretty sketchy product if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Read the ingredients and check for cocoa butter, which is the only thing about white chocolate that’s related to chocolate at all! If it’s not made with real cocoa butter, chances are the manufacturer is substituting cheap hydrogenated vegetable oils instead—resulting in a product euphemistically called “white confectionary tablet.” You might be surprised that this recipe calls for semisweet rather than bittersweet chocolate. There’s a reason, of course. Calling for semisweet chocolate allows us to use less sugar when beating the eggs whites, which makes a looser, lighter meringue. This keeps the Bruno mousse-like and fluffy rather than dense.
Reprinted from Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Cookbook by Bruce Bromberg, Eric Bromberg, and Melissa Clark. Copyright (c) 2010. Photos (c) Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.