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My beloved-beloved cannot eat unbaked cow’s-milk fat. No fettucine Alfredo, no butter on his toast, no cheddar with apple slices. Mostly not a problem: It’s easy to figure out cook-arounds at home. Milk or cheese from sheep and goats are fine, and we use lots of olive oil.

When we go out, however, we put ourselves in the hands of the restaurant kitchen. And when we go to a hotel for a week, we’re really counting on our hosts to get it right.

Last summer we went to Montana, to a wonderful ranch that my family has been going to for about 60 years. Upon arrival, we were driven to our cabin on the edge of the big softball lawn. As we unpacked two guys came over to our porch and introduced themselves as the chef and dessert chef. They’d gotten our note about the food issue, and wanted to make sure they understood fully. Boy, did they get it, and man, did we eat well.

Montana Chocolate Mousse in cordial glasses

The piece-de-resistance was dessert chef Shannon Harper’s chocolate mousse. He figured out how to jimmy his recipe to replace cow with goat, and served a rich, dark, divine dessert with all the body of classic chocolate mousse. The goat’s milk added a delicate sparkle. Our table — and anyone else who wandered close enough for a taste — was in heaven.

Shannon sent me the recipe later in the summer, with a note saying I might want to reduce it a bit further than he already had: The version he sent was for 30 desserts. Doing my own jimmying, here’s Montana Chocolate Mousse for four, with a bit left over for the cook.

Montana Chocolate Mousse in a demitasse

Montana Chocolate Mousse

A little goes a long way: Try serving this in small and fancy containers, like demitasse cups, cordial glasses or even egg cups.

Serves six

  • 6 ounces 58-62% good dark chocolate (such as Callebaut, Valrhona, Scharffen Berger)
  • 1/3 cup goat’s milk (available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, select Schnucks and other grocery stores)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

In the top of a large double boiler, melt the chocolate. In a separate pan (or the microwave), scald goat’s milk. Remove the double boiler top from the heat and add goat’s milk, whisking to keep mixture smooth. While mixture is still very warm, add egg yolks and whisk well into mixture. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add sugar, and beat mixture until soft peaks form.

Add chocolate mixture to egg whites one-third at a time, gently folding chocolate into whites. Pour or spoon into serving bowl or cups. Chill at least one hour and up to a day before serving.

Photos and recipe copyright 2010 Garside Group LLC

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