Chocolate mousse, or mousse au chocolat as the French call it, is one of the most famous French dessert recipes ever and has been around for centuries. The simple yet elegant dessert is a classic addition to a soirée with friends and is easy to prepare. In fact, this dessert can even be prepared a day ahead, which makes it the perfect dessert for entertaining. Skip the oven for your next dinner party and surprise guests with this decadent airy delight. You won’t be sorry!
A classic chocolate mousse consists of only a few key ingredients, namely chocolate, eggs and sugar. Today we are giving that classic version a bit of a kick with some freshly brewed espresso, coffee powder and a little shot of rum. The espresso not only compliments the chocolate flavor, it also intensifies the chocolate aroma. This is a kitchen trick that chefs like to use to deepen the chocolate taste in various dishes. Using freshly brewed espresso gives the mousse a faint coffee taste. To really bring coffee flavor into the dish we are also using coffee powder in addition to intensify the flavor. The rum rounds all the flavors together and gives it a subtle warmth.
Another addition to our mousse is heavy cream, which is whipped until soft peaks form and folded into the mousse. This gives the mousse a wonderful creamy texture and decadent flavor. Skip the store-bought whipped cream and whip it yourself for the best taste.
The word mousse means foam in French, which describes the texture a chocolate mousse should have. To get a light and airy texture, the egg whites are beaten until stiff and folded into the chocolate. This creates air bubbles in the mousse, which give it its typical taste and texture. Since chocolate mousse requires raw eggs, it is important to use fresh and organic eggs.
The taste of the mousse greatly depends on the chocolate you use. Using high quality dark chocolate, or even dark couverture is necessary to creating a delicious mousse. Couverture is a special kind of chocolate, which contains a higher percentage of fat and as a result creates a silkier taste. If you cannot find couverture at your local grocery store, simply get the best one they have. Do not use chocolate chips or low quality chocolate.
While chocolate mousse is an easy dessert to prepare, there are a few key points you need to keep in mind to prevent any mishaps.
Whipping the egg whites
If you have ever made meringue before, you will be aware of how finicky egg whites can be. If there is even just a little residue of grease in your bowl, they will not thicken. To prevent that, keep your bowl and mixer clean and grease free when beating the egg whites. If you get a little bit of egg yolk into the egg whites while separating the eggs, carefully remove it with a spoon. If that isn’t possible, start over with a new egg.
Incorporating the chocolate
It is very important to let your chocolate cool a bit before adding it to your egg mixture. If your chocolate is too hot it could cook the eggs causing the mixture to curdle. On the other hand, chocolate that is too cold will not melt the sugar granules and emulsify with the egg mixture, which will cause lumps. To ensure that neither happens, let your chocolate cool a bit and add it to the egg mixture while it is warm.
After you are done making the mousse it is vital to chill it for at least 6 hours. It may be tempting to cut away from that time, especially if you have guests arriving for dinner. But whatever you do, do not shorten the time. The mousse needs that time to firm up and get that wonderful light texture. If you are afraid of running short on time, simply prepare the mousse a day ahead.
Keep these steps in mind and go whip up some delicious chocolate mousse like a pro.
Dark Chocolate Mousse with Espresso
- 150 g dark chocolate or couverture* 5.3oz
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder sifted (optional: plus more for sprinkling)
- 50 ml espresso 4 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon coffee powder
- 1 teaspoon rum
- pinch of salt
- 200 ml heavy cream 6.7 fl. oz.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. (The smaller, the faster it will melt.) Melt it over a double boiler until smooth, stirring occasionally.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites and chill the egg whites until needed.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and smooth with a hand-mixer, for about 2 minutes.
Mix the coffee powder with the espresso and rum until the coffee granules have dissolved and add into the egg mixture. Then stir in the sifted cocoa.
Then add in the warm chocolate and stir until smooth.
In a clean and grease-free bowl, beat the chilled egg whites along with a pinch of salt until stiff glossy peaks form.
In a separate bowl, beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form and set aside.
Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula until smooth. Then fold in the whipped cream.
Pour into desired glasses and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Optional: Sprinkle with cocoa powder before serving.
*Only use high quality dark chocolate or dark couverture
You can prepare the mousse a day ahead. The chocolate mousse keeps for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Aside from cocoa powder, other great toppings are whipped cream, chocolate shaving or chocolate sprinkles.
Let’s get started!
Step 1- Chop and melt the chocolate
Using a large sharp knife, chop the chocolate into small pieces. The smaller you cut the chocolate, the faster it will melt. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler (a heat-proof bowl placed over a pot with simmering water) until smooth. Be careful not to burn your chocolate and stir it occasionally.
Step 2- Separate the eggs
Separate the egg yolks from the whites and place the egg whites into the fridge until needed.
Step 3- Make the base
In a medium bowl, whip the egg yolks and sugar until pale and smooth with a hand-mixer for about 2 minutes. Combine the espresso, coffee powder and rum and add into the egg mixture. Then stir in the sifted cocoa.
Step 4- Add the chocolate
Next add the warm chocolate into the egg mixture and stir until no lumps remain. Make sure your chocolate is neither too hot nor too cold before adding it into the mixture.
Step 5- Beat the egg whites and cream
In a clean, grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff glossy peaks form. You should be able to turn the bowl around without the egg whites moving. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
Step 6- Fold into the chocolate
Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate with a spatula until smooth. Then fold in the whipped cream.
Step 7- Chill the mousse
Pour the mousse into desired glasses and chill for at least 6 hours. Optional: Sprinkle with cocoa powder or add decor of choice.