Chocolate mousse is a great dessert for entertaining because 1) it looks pretty, 2) everyone gets their own serving, and 3) you can make it a day ahead of time. In fact, you do need to make it at least several hours ahead of time. I decided to prepare chocolate mousse using the darkest chocolate I could find (Trader Joe's has some Belgian 70% cocoa 1 lb bricks). Chocolate mousse is a little bit tricky. If you incorporate the egg yolks when the chocolate is too warm, it will cook, if too cold, it will seize up when the other ingredients are added. If you stir and not fold the egg whites and whipped cream in, your mousse will not be fluffy, but dense.
Almost all recipes I reviewed called for bittersweet chocolate. From what I can tell, bittersweet has a bit more sugar and a bit less cocoa than the 70% dark chocolate I used. If you are going to serve the mousse straight - with no added cream or fruit, and you love the taste of barely sweet dark chocolate, your mousse will be perfect with the 70%. If you layer in fruit (raspberries complement the chocolate quite well) and or more whipped cream, you'll want either to add sugar or use bittersweet chocolate to begin with.
Chocolate Mousse Recipe
- 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, diced
- 2 tablespoons espresso or very strong coffee (I used decaf espresso from a local Starbucks)
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon sugar
(Optional) Raspberries and extra whipped cream
1 Whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate.
2 Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.
3 Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
4 When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.
5 Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes. If you wish, layer in fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (The mousse can be refrigerated for up to a day.)
Serves 5-8, depending on the size of the servings.