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(512) Pecan Porter Chocolate Mousse drizzled with Pecan Praline liquor and served with a bacon spoon.
Makes 8 large (6-8 oz) servings or 16 smaller (3-4 oz) servings
Preparation time: 30 minutes for the mousse, 1 hour for the bacon
Chill time: 6 hours minimum
Garnishes: adjust if using another type of flavored dark beer
Preparation of the Mousse:
Heat 3/4 cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Whisk slowly so that the eggs do not curdle from the hot cream. Transfer mixture back to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on thermometer. It is extremely important to reach at least 160 degrees or else the custard may not set. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool. Once it is smooth, add the beer while whisking. The beer may start to fizz, but just keep whisking. Allow to cool to at least room temperature or colder.
Whisk remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer (hand or stand) until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. I do it by pouring the cooled chocolate mixture into the bowl of whipped cream. If it is not cool, your whipped cream may cease to be whipped. This process will be time consuming, but do not stir. You must fold, fold, fold or else you'll lose the air that is in the mousse. Make sure that you incorporate the liquid at the very bottom of the bowl into the whipped cream or else you will end up with mousse on top and liquid chocolate beer on bottom.
Spoon mousse into 8 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours. Mousse will stay edible for about a 10 days refrigerated. If it gets to room temperature, it may start to loose it's shape, but once refrigerated, it should stiffen up again.
Cooking the bacon:
While there are many different ways to cook bacon, I prefer to use the suspended baking method. This method renders the fat from the bacon without it sitting in grease. You want a crunchy bacon strip without grease. It should be easy for people to handle and to use as a spoon. I cook mine by cutting the bacon strips in half crosswise so that you end up with many 4-5 inch long pieces of raw bacon. Run a wooden skewer all the way through one end of all the bacon pieces. You should have a skewer (if held parallel to the ground) of bacon hanging off. Leave about 1-1.5 inches between each piece of bacon and make sure they are separated. If not, they will cook together in one big clump. Place the skewers between the openings of the oven racks. Make sure the top rack is at the highest position possible, and make sure the bottom rack is at the lowest position possible. Place a large baking or roasting pan under the bacon. If you do not make sure that all the bacon is directly over the pan, you will end up with a nasty, greasy, smokey mess in your oven. Starting with the cold oven, I turn it up to 350 degrees. Once the bacon is sizzling at 350, I crank it up to 400 degrees, leave it at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then bring it back down to 350 degrees. After 20 minutes, I turn the often off completely and allow the bacon to finish cooking and cool in the oven. It is about 40 minutes of cook time. I find that cranking the often up to 400 degrees for a short amount of time gets it that crispy stage faster, but doesn't burn it. Allowing the bacon to cool in the oven ensures that the dogs will not be able to get to it (most dogs anyways), and that all the grease drips off. The end result will be non-greasy crispy bacon spoons.
Serving: Mouse should be placed in individual cups (clear plastic or glass makes for a pretty presentation). Drizzle Pecan Praline liquor over the mousse and serve with a bacon spoon dipped in.
Garnish adjustments: I chose bacon and pecan praline liqueur for this recipe because 512 Pecan Porter has a dark, rich, nutty aroma. I would not use this combination for other beers, say perhaps a coffee porter. I might serve biscotti or Kahlua with a coffee porter mousse. Other garnishes include peppermint chips, cookies, raw cacao nibs, or fruits. The possibilities are endless.