There are so many recipes for chocolate mousse out there and many of them follow the same formula – melt chocolate and butter together, add egg yolks then whip up egg whites. Add whipped cream at the end.
Nigella Lawson has even produced an instant chocolate mousse that uses marshmallows as the setting agent and avoids eggs altogether.
But if you want the ultimate chocolate mousse, you really can’t go past Julia Child’s mousseline au chocolat.
What makes this recipe unique is the beating off the yolks over a bain-marie. It’s this process that creates a thick, foamy base to the mousse.
It also means that you don’t need to add any whipped cream, unless you want to serve it with a blob on top.
This recipe requires several different processes but each are relatively simple.
You are guaranteed to have a dead arm by the end though with all of the whisking, so I’d recommend using a handheld beater if you have one.
I recently spent some time with a professional baker and picked up an excellent tip that I got to try out with this recipe – when you need to fold egg whites into a mixture, use your hands.
It may sound gross, but you can let the mix run through your fingers and feel what you’re doing to the egg whites.
It worked really well with this mousse and I’ll definitely be trying it on sponge based cakes from now on.
Mousseline au chocolat (adapted from Julia Child)
4 eggs, separated
¾ cup caster sugar
¼ orange liqueur (can be substituted for dark rum)
170g dark chocolate
4 tbsp strong coffee
1 extra tbsp. caster sugar
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until you have a thick, pale yellow mixture that falls back on itself. Beat in the orange liqueur.
Set the bowl on a pan of not-quite-simmering water and continue to beat for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is hot to the touch and foamy.
Remove from the heat and place over a bowl of cold water, then beat for a further 3-4 minutes until you have mixture like mayonnaise.
In a separate pan, melt the chocolate and the coffee. Remove from the heat and slowly add in the butter piece by piece until you have a smooth glossy cream.
Beat the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until you have soft peaks then add the final 1 tbsp sugar. Continue to beat until you have stiff peaks.
Mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mix, then fold in the rest.
Pour into cups and leave in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.