Theresa Cantafio was filling her mug with piping hot La Colombe coffee at WeWork Fulton Market when she bumped into Thomas Shipley. Neither knew that a sweet friendship was just beginning.
“I told him that I was working on content for my website,” says Cantafio. “He said he’d love to help. So finally, after six weeks, I took him up on his offer to help.”
For providing his copy editing expertise, Shipley receives homemade treats from Cantafio.
“Tom’s help started out small, with a paragraph or two, and has grown to larger articles,” Cantafio says. “I started repaying him in basic chocolate chip cookies.”
This barter system seemed to work for both of them, so they continued it after Shipley began doing more projects for Cantafio.
“Since his work has gotten more involved,” Cantafio explains, “I make him fancier desserts to reimburse him for his help‑items, like tart lemon bars swirled with a blueberry coulis and a toasted coconut-brown butter crust and dark chocolate mousse with Madagascar vanilla bean Chantilly.”
And how did those baked goods taste?
“Incredible,” Shipley says. “The most unique payment of services that I’ve received.”
At WeWork, all kinds of interactions take place in the communal areas of each floor. Shipley says people who would never ordinarily meet have encountered each other to “pick each other’s brains and gain insights and ideas they’d otherwise miss out on.”
Cantafio’s recipe sounded so good that we asked her if she’d share with the rest of the WeWork community.
Dark chocolate mousse with Madagascar vanilla bean chantilly
For dark chocolate mousse
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
14 ounces cold heavy whipping cream
3 large egg whites
1 ounce cane sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For vanilla chantilly
4 ounces cold heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
Garnish with shaved bittersweet chocolate
Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set over a double boiler at a low simmer. Stir chocolate until melted. Take off the heat and let sit.
With a mixer, beat the cold cream until soft peaks form. Set aside. Clean mixer thoroughly, then whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until firm peaks form.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the egg whites—all at once—into the chocolate, which should be slightly cooled and nearly room temperature by now. When the whites are almost fully incorporated, fold in the whipped cream. Cover the mousse and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve in glass mason jars topped with Chantilly and shaved chocolate. Enjoy!
Expert Tip 1: Before whipping the cream, chill the mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10 minutes. This will ensure for a quicker, lighter whip.
Expert Tip 2: If the mixing bowl isn’t completely clean before whipping the egg whites—for example, if there is still fat residue from the heavy cream—the eggs won’t whip to their full potential.
Photos: Pretty Instant