That said, this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake (page 446, Around My French Table), proves that you can't always judge a book - or in this case, a dish - by its cover. (If you're wondering, Michel Rostang is another one of Greenspan's Michelin-starred chef friends.) The recipe offers a variety of options for execution: cooking just one layer of mousse and serving topped with a layer of chilled and uncooked mousse; cooking two layers in two stages and serving warm; or cooking both layers, again in two stages, and serving chilled. I went with door number three.
The positives: I never eat dessert after a savory meal, so I judge sweets on how they would work as a breakfast item or as a rare afternoon snack. This one was a success on both counts: along with my morning coffee, the rich chocolate really woke me up in the morning, and it was a perfect afternoon pick-me-up, as it's not too heavy. It was also incredibly easy to make, and even though the mousse did dribble out a bit from the springform mold, it didn't matter in the end.
The negatives: It's just not that pretty. The recipe does say that the top will crackle but ... I mean, really. I think the relatively smooth one pictured in the book must be topped with the chilled mousse. I also didn't notice much of a difference between the layers, and that's only a negative because the book stressed that this was a distinguishing characteristic of the cake. Otherwise, I wouldn't have noticed.
Bottom line: I would definitely make this again for guests - only I might put a blindfold on them first.
Check out the other mousse cakes here, and while you're at it, why not sign up to cook along with the group? Each Friday we make a dish from Around My French Table, and all you have to do is buy the book. It's worth it for the photos alone.
Happy French Friday!