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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

April 3, ????

“Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This Week” continues on with the Tuesday Timeline, and as you’ve probably guessed, today’s timeline will be focusing on an event that happens on April 3.

One thing that is a little different is the lack of a year.  Unlike most other Tuesday Timeline entries where we go back in time to a specific year, we are instead going to focus on the date itself.  Believe it or not, April 3 is a significant day in the world of desserts, and has been celebrated for quite a few years.  I wish I could have found more information as to when the tradition began, but I was unable to do so.  Hence the reason why the year has been replaced by four question marks.

That will be the only change to this week’s Tuesday Timeline entry though.  The rest of it remains exactly the same.

So, why don’t we see what else happened on April 3rd, shall we?  We’ll start with celebrity birthdays.  Famous people blowing out the candles on their birthday cakes today include Doris Day, Jane Goodall, Eric Braeden (that’s Victor Newman for you soap fans out there), Wayne Newton, Tony Orlando, Alec Baldwin, David Hyde Pierce, Eddie Murphy, Sebastian Bach, Picabo Street, Jennie Garth, Aries Spears, Cobie Smulders, Leona Lewis, and Amanda Bynes.

As well, we’ll take a look at some historical happenings for April the third.

33 A.D. – While not confirmed, it is widely believed that the historical crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth occurred on April 3

1860 – The first successful Pony Express run took place between Missouri and California

1865 – Richmond, Virginia is captured by Union during American Civil War

1882 – Jesse James is killed by Robert Ford

1885 – Gottlieb Daimler is granted German patent for his engine design

1895 – Trial begins in libel case instigated by Oscar Wilde, results in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality

1936 – Bruno Richard Hauptmann is executed for kidnapping and killing the Lindbergh baby

1948 – Harry S. Truman signs Marshall Plan; on the same day, Jeju massacre occurs in South Korea

1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. Delivers his “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” speech

1973 – The first handheld mobile phone call is made by Martin Cooper, of Motorola

1975 – Bobby Fischer refuses to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title of World Champion by default

1981 – The first portable computer, the Osbourne I, is unveiled at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco, California

1996 – Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski is arrested in Montana

2000 – Microsoft is ruled to have been in violation of antitrust laws by keeping an “oppressive thumb” on its competitors

So, as you can see, just based on the facts and trivia that I have gathered up, it’s some very interesting information, but none of it really works with the theme for the week.

And since I already had plans to make this week a theme week, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to find an appropriate topic for today.  It really wasn’t until I did a little bit of work on Google that I discovered something very interesting about April 3.  It happens to be associated with one of my favourite sweet treats, and once I found that out, the rest fell nicely into place.

Today is April 3.  National Chocolate Mousse Day!

Believe it!  April 3 is the day where we celebrate the delicacy that is chocolate mousse!, not chocolate MOOSE...I mean this stuff.

Doesn’t that just look delicious and appetizing?  Rich, smooth, cool...definitely one of the finest dessert treats one can have.  I believe that the first time I ever had it was when my sister got married in the late 1980s.  One of the desserts offered at the reception was a little dish of chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream.  Being eight years old at the time, I was in love with anything that even so much as resembled chocolate, so I decided to try some, and it was love at first bite.

However, one thing that I learned a bit too late about chocolate mousse was that you had to be careful when eating it.  Otherwise, you may end up dripping some all over the rented tuxedo that you were forced to wear during the wedding.  Oh, yes, that was an interesting story to tell the rental place for sure.

So, what exactly is chocolate mousse anyway? 

According to Wikipedia, chocolate mousse originated from France.  Mousse itself is the French word for foam, which mousse greatly resembles.  Mousse is a prepared food that incorporates air bubbles in order to give it a light and airy texture.  Depending on the recipe that is used, the mousse can appear light and fluffy, or creamy and thick.

Mousses can be made in any flavour.  I’ve seen vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, and even orange flavoured mousse.  However, I find that chocolate mousse is probably the flavour that is considered to be the most popular.  After all, it does have a day named after it.

I thought that in celebration of the chocolate mousse, I’d post a recipe for chocolate mousse, so that you can celebrate “National Chocolate Mousse Day” today as well.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Okay, so this recipe comes to us courtesy of late chef, Julia Child.



-      1 cup semisweet baking chocolate

-      4 tablespoons strong coffee

-      6 ounces unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)

-      4 egg yolks

-      ¼ cup rum or ¼ cup strong coffee

-      4 egg whites

-      ¾ cup instant superfine sugar

-      2 tablespoons instant superfine sugar

-      Whipped cream (optional)            


-      Place the chocolate and 4 tbsp strong coffee in a sauce pan and place in a pan of hot water.  Stir for a minute or so, until melting begins

-      Place egg yolks in a bowl and beat, adding the sugar in a thin stream.  Continue beating until mixture is thick, pale, and forms a ribbon.  Beat in the rum.  Set over a pan of almost simmering water and beat for an additional 5 minutes.  Test with your finger to make sure the mixture is warmed through.

-      Allow to cool.  It should again form a ribbon and have the consistency of thick, creamy mayonnaise

-      Stir the chocolate until smooth, and gradually add the softened butter.  When totally in corporate stir the mixture into the yolks and sugar

-      In a clean bowl, beat the room temperature egg whites.  Begin slowly and increase the speed until soft peaks are formed.  Sprinkle with 2 tbsp of sugar and a pinch of salt.  Continue beating until stiff peaks are formed.

-      Fold ¼ of the stiff egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Scoop the remaining egg whites on top and delicately fold them inches.

-      Place into a mold or serving dishes and chill for several hours or overnight

-      Serve with whipped cream if desired.

And there you have it.  You now have your own recipe for chocolate mousse, courtesy of the French chef.  I must warn you, like most delicious desserts, the chocolate mousse isn’t exactly the healthiest food choice.  Although a standard serving is only 287 calories, most of those come from saturated fat.  
So, enjoy in moderation!

If this recipe doesn’t tickle your fancy, fear not.  If you Google chocolate mousse recipes, you’ll find hundreds out there for you to make.  Or, if you’re a klutz in the kitchen, might I recommend Jell-O mousse pudding cups?  They come in several flavours, and are only sixty calories a piece.  I’ve had them before, and I have to say, for a Jell-O product, they aren’t bad.

I hope each and every one of you have a happy National Chocolate Mousse Day today, and remember, snack responsibly!

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