My search for the perfect, most luscious and chocolaty mousse au chocolat brought me right back home to America, to Julia Child’s recipe. Although I have a few other versions in my repertoire, her recipe is a classic and has that perfect slightly-gummy texture, backed up by a wallop of pure dark chocolate flavor.
This recipe requires a vigorous bit of whipping. So if you’ve ever wanted to really know why French women don’t get fat even though they eat all those luscious desserts, well…once you make this mousse, you’ll soon learn the answer.
And because the recipe is classic French, it uses raw eggs. Since some folks are concerned about raw eggs, if you’re one of them, use pasteurized egg whites, which you should verify are suitable for whipping. Some won’t whip, which I learned the hard way a few years back. When I make anything that uses uncooked eggs, I use the freshest eggs I can get my hands on.
Speaking of top-quality, since the flavor of the mousse depends on good chocolate, feel free to splurge on a good brand; you won’t regret it. For this batch, I broke up a tablet of Green and Black’s organic 72% chocolate and melted it with Meyer’s dark rum along with good, strong coffee.
Bon Appétit!…as Julia would say.
Six to eight servings
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf) by Julia Child.
I tried to reduce the amount of butter in the recipe and found it wasn’t nearly as good. Since I’m not one to argue with Julia, I stuck close to the recipe tweaking it just slightly.
- 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) water
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.
2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)
3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.
5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.
6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.
Serving: I like to serve the chocolate mousse as it is, maybe with just a small dollop of whipped cream; it neither needs, nor wants, much adornment.
Storage: The mousse au chocolat can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.