Sandwiched: Cocoa Popovers with Chocolate Mousse and Raspberries


Va-Mousse! [Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

This is, admittedly, not a proper sandwich in that it is not two slices of hearty white or whole wheat with a spread or stack of deli meats and cheese. But if we get down to technicalities, it is in fact two pieces of bread with stuffing.

The idea for this sweet popover sprang out of my strongly observed ritual of eating chocolate, honey, Maldon salt, and fruit out of a tiny teacup every night after I've tucked myself into bed. Usually I am quite satisfied with my post-dinner treat, but oftentimes I wish the chocolate had presented itself in less flat and square fashion.

Mousse is the one of my favorite incarnations of chocolate: billowy, airy, light as a cloud. The procedure is simple, with the results being anything but plain: a custard is made by whisking hot heavy cream into a mixture of egg yolks and sugar, then cooking it over gentle heat just until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stirring is the only real rule you must stick to, as, no pun intended, the custard will curdle and scramble most unappealingly and stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Melted chocolate is then added to the base. Now, this recipe calls for 60% cocoa content chocolate; do not use a higher content as it will affect the consistency of the custard in a terrible way.

Once the custard is cooled, whipped cream and egg whites beaten to soft peaks are folded in and almond extract added for flavoring. The mousse is impossibly frothy and just rich enough.

While you could eat chocolate mousse in a cup, or straight from the bowl, it goes wonderfully in freshly made cocoa popovers, whose batter comes together quick as a wink and makes for irresistible presentation, acting as an edible serving dish for the mousse. I allow them to cool a bit to let the steam out, then remove some of the crumb to make room for the filling. Fresh raspberries, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkling of Maldon salt, and of course, the popover top, complete this dessert sandwich.