Colorado Trippin’ & Chocolate-Caramel Mousse with Poached Pears

At an altitude of 8000 ft air is pretty thin causing headaches and shortness of breath, i had to hold on to my Tylenol bottle on the first day. It’s all worth it when you see the view, the picture above was taken from my kitchen window.

I didn’t have much time for food photography on this trip but here’s something i made, Pierre Herme’s fantastic chocolate-caramel mousse. The trick here is to cook the caramel to a deep color between dark amber and light mahogany, darker would make it bitter. It’s then finished with salted butter and combined with chocolate and whipped cream, a celestial combination blended to cosmic perfection!

Pierre Herme serves this mousse with caramel pears, i went for the lighter option of simply poached pears. Enjoy!

Pierre Herme’s Chocolate-Caramel Mousse

(serves 4)

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona gastronomie), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons salted butter

Note: This recipe won’t work if you don’t respect the temperatures in the recipe. Working with caramel can be tricky.

  • Whip the cream until it holds medium peaks. Keep in the refrigerator until needed.
  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Set the chocolate to cool to 114’F.
  • Rinse a bowl with warm water and keep in a warm place.
  • In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, sprinkle 2 tbs of sugar into the center of the pan. When it’s melted and caramelized, add 2 more tbs of sugar. Repeat until all the sugar has been used and the caramel is a deep amber color. Reduce the heat and add the salted butter and 1/2 cup whipped cream. Be careful, the mixture will bubble. Stir the mixture until smooth, bring to a boil again and turn it into the warm bowl to cool to 114’F.
  • When the caramel an melted chocolate are both 114’F, stir the chocolate gently into the caramel. Fold the whipped cream into the mixture (starting with 1/4 of it so it doesn’t shock it).
  • Spoon into individual cups, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with poached pears or caramelized pears.

My job is done here. I’m going home, baby!

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  • Elle

    Stunning. The views, the house, the mousse…and your chef’s hat.

  • we are never full

    i really want to know who this “bossman” is. that house is sick. as is that mousse. sick!!! what recession?

  • The Short (dis)Order Cook

    Too bad Bossman has such a crappy house, huh?

    Tell me about those high altitude headaches! Last summer I had some business meetings in Denver and two hours after landing I was in agony. I had to visit with a client, which did not make it feel any better.

    I love that mousse. After successfully making a similar caramel chocolate mousse a few weeks ago, I now feel more confident in doing things like this.(So what if it took me two tries?)

  • doggybloggy

    wow zen-a-rooni I am little disappointed that there was no ‘wild’ game on the menu – you did set out the right ‘bait’ didnt you? and no the hat looks more like the one the grinch wore……LOL

  • Ginny

    can i have your job? or maybe just that dessert?

  • Manggy

    Pinball?! They couldn’t spring for a few dozen Wii’s? 😛 Kidding! Forget watching movies too, if I were there (and, uh, didn’t have to cook for VIPs) I’d soak in a hot tub and forget everyone else ever existed :) Preferably with above mousse by my side. And whatever my private chef has fixed for lunch, heh heh 😉

  • 5 Star Foodie

    Sounds like a fun trip! Love this dessert – the mousse is heavenly and even better with my favorite fruit!

  • Fury

    as a third grader would say,*OMG,OMG*I am speechless..I want to be reincarnated as Zen Chef.
    Forget love, I’d rather fall in this divine looking chocolate caramel mousse.Dammit,fedex me some right now.

  • pigpigscorner

    What a gorgeous place! Your bossman must be having a really good time…amazing views and scrumptious food.

  • Peter M

    8,000 ft. high? Wouldn’t that suck if you forgot to buy an ingredient at the market? lol

    The crib is hot, you have to throw a party and serve up Pierre’s mousse all ’round.

  • My Sweet & Saucy

    I think you have inspired me to make that right now!

  • glamah16

    Im catching up! How did I miss the last few succelent posts.

  • TavoLini

    Wow. Seriously, this is amazing. How do I get on the guest list?

    And I do dig that stylish hat :)

  • Colloquial Cook

    Wait, wait, hold on a sec, I need to go get my Alpenhorn, my Lederhosen and my luge!!!
    For your birthday I’ll get you a night-vision lense for your camera and you can startle the coyotes. Always dreamt of doing so myself. Startling coyotes. Pretty cool.
    Ah, et Pierre vient de m’appeler, il me dit de te dire qu’il démissionne, tu es, je cite “trop fort pour [lui]”. T’as pas honte!

  • AzAzura

    Hey Zen , I had been busy and looks like so have you!I love poached pears(i love your food)i bet this chocolate mousse taste heavenly.
    hope you are well over there.xx

  • foodhuntress79

    You look very serious in the kitchen…

  • Bella Baita View

    Love the post and especially the photos, Makes me a tad homesick. I’m not from Aspen, but from over in Summit county, that you either flew over or drove past on your way to Aspen. O worked as the pastry chef for Copper Mt resort for 12 years).I hope you got to do some skiing. The conditions look good this year. The hat is a nice addition and the recipe is no slouch either.

  • Heather

    When my ex-bf and I used to go visit his folks in Colorado, they thought I was just a bitch because I was so tired and my head hurt all the time. They never believed me when I said it was the altitude! Assholes.

  • Tartelette

    Working in such horrid conditions again…how dare they do that to you!! Promise me that next time you go, you will do the Titanic bit, pretty please….I’d be Kate my dear Leo :)
    The mousse is nothing short of delicious!!

  • Big Boys Oven

    Hi Zen, sorry for not dropping by as often as I wanted, been busy myself too. bossman’s place looks awesome with great view too. Having that chocolat mousse over such a veiw is awesome!

  • Elra

    You are one lucky chef. The view is stunning, and oh you can have dinner with the city light view? Oh my I want a dinning room like that!
    Good to see you behind that stove with that funny hat, lol.

  • Nicole

    That is “snow” perfect! I want some!

  • Emily

    This is so cool, Zen. I’m verrrry jealous. :/

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    8000 ft? I get dizzy just from reading it. You look kind of scared in that new picture of you. With whom were you on the phone hein???
    That’s a gorgeous house and thanks for taking the time to showing it to us poor people. I would have loved the Titanic picture. Maybe next time? Please?