Chocolate mousse, the quintessential romantic dessert…light, silky, sweet….completely and utterly decadent.
This recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s recipe and a recipe from Ruth Reichl, editor of Gourmet. Julia’s recipe comes out incredibly rich and silky because she uses unsalted butter to enrich the chocolate. The recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes has a great technique for making sure the eggs are safe. Most recipes for chocolate mousse call for bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate, but I use unsweetened chocolate and add my own sugar and flavorings. By using the chocolate and sugar in this way, we can control the sweetness and cocoa intensity; additionally, the unsweetened chocolate from the better manufacturers tends to be of even higher quality than bittersweet or semisweet chocolates. Don’t be afraid to play with the ingredients to get the results that turn good results into great and great to unimaginable…
- 5 oz unsweetened chocolate (use a good one like Scharffen Berger or Ghirardelli)
- 2 oz granulated sugar (here you can play; this will yield about 71.4% chocolate)
- 3 oz unsalted butter
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 2 cups heavy cream (divided: 3/4 cups and 1 1/4 cups for later in the recipe)
- 4 large egg yolk
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- Chop chocolate into small pieces; no need to push too hard or use a lot of force or there will be small pieces of chocolate all over the kitchen.
- Place the chocolate, sugar, butter, and espresso powder in a stainless steel bowl
- Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and melt everything in the bowl, stirring frequently. Do not be concerned if the sugar seems grainy after this step. It will come together in subsequent steps. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature. Keep the pot of hot water.
- Place 3/4 cup of heavy cream in a pot small enough to fit in the pot of hot water. Or use a double boiler if you have one. Heat but do not boil the cream.
- Temper the eggs yolks by adding some (about half) of the hot cream in a slow steady stream while stirring the yolks. Add tempered yolks back to the cream pot.
- Over a medium heat bring the yolk mixture to 165° stirring constantly this destroys any harmful bacteria that may be present in the egg yolks. Make sure not to go over 165° so the yolks do not turn into scrambled eggs.
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly while stirring
- Combine the egg yolk mixture with the chocolate, making sure the sugar dissolves completely. The chocolate will become much thicker as the yolks are added and will take on a beautiful sheen. Set aside and wait until the chocolate is room temperature before folding in the cream.
- Whip the remaining 1 1/4 cups of cream in a well chilled bowl using the mixer of your choice. Begin slowly and increase speed as the cream thickens. Continue whipping until you get stiff peaks.
- Using 1/3 of the whipped cream at a time, combine with the room temperature chocolate mixture. Whisk in the first third to lighten the mixture; using the whisk fold in the second third; and using a rubber spatula, careful fold in the remaining third, using an over/under motion.
- Spoon into individual serving dishes or stemware and chill for at least 2 hours or up to a day.