The Jewish Palate: Olive Oil for Dessert

Chef Dennis Wasko explores the culinary tradition of the Jews of Spain and introduces a surprising sweet: Chocolate mousse with olive oil.

olive oil 311 (photo credit: Judy Seigal Itzkovitch)
olive oil 311
(photo credit: Judy Seigal Itzkovitch)
As I continue to explore the grand culinary traditions of the Jews of the Mediterranean World, I'm constantly amazed at the genius and versatility of their ingredients.
Perhaps no other ingredient is as important as olive oil. Not only is it used in every aspect of the savory kitchen, it is also heavily used in desserts and pastries.
In recent years, cakes and pastries that list extra virgin olive oil among their ingredients have slowly made their way onto the food scene. I have been making such desserts and sharing the recipes for years, especially among my friends who keep kosher kitchens. Since we are not allowed to mix meat and dairy together at the same meal, it has been difficult to find dessert recipes, especially cakes and cookies, which do not use trans-fat laden margarine. By using recipes that call for olive oil, we can have our cake and eat it too, without the guilt of knowing that we are damaging our children's arteries!
I am always on the look out for new and exciting desserts that use olive oil.
I have recently come upon a Spanish Chocolate Mousse recipe that has absolutely blown my mind! It's hard to believe that something as fantastic as Chocolate Mousse can be improved upon, but the simple addition of extra virgin olive oil will lift your mousse to new heights!
The fruitiness of olive oil marries perfectly with and enhances the flavor of chocolate. The olive oil also gives the mousse a "light" velvety texture that melts instantly the moment it hits the tongue. This is the best Chocolate Mousse that I have ever tasted.  It is rich, but olive oil is actually good for you.  The amazing fact that this recipe is pareve means that it can be enjoyed at any meal!
If you are feeling truly adventurous, garnish the mousse with flaky sea salt.
Mousse de Chocolate con Aceite de Oliva
(Serves 10)
 7 ounces best quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup mild extra virgin olive oil, preferably Israeli
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup brewed espresso, or water
2 tablespoons rum, brandy, orange liqueur, vanilla, or rose water* (optional)
1.    In a small saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, add the olive oil, and mix well.
2.    In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until foamy. Add espresso or water, and flavoring. Whisk until well blended. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk together until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
3.    Using a standing mixer, or a hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Scoop about one-third of the egg whites and fold into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Repeat with half of the remaining egg whites. Finally, fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain visible.
4.    Transfer mousse to a 10 inch spring form pan, bowl, or individual serving glasses. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Alternately, mousse can be frozen for at least 3 hours.
5.    Remove the mousse from the refrigerator or freezer, serve as desired. Mousse in the cake pan can actually be cut into wedges and served like a cake. If freezing the mousse, allow to soften slightly before serving. This mousse can also be scooped into quenelles for service.
6.    For added elegance, garnish with a flaky sea salt.
    Serve with seasonal fresh fruit.
* If using rose water, do NOT use espresso. Use plain water.
Dennis Wasko has been a Professional Chef for 12 years and is the author of New Israeli Cuisine,, and Beyond The Kitchen Wall