As a baker and a bonafide sweet-tooth, the question I get the most, aside from “what do you do with everything you bake?!” is “what is your favorite dessert?” The answer is surprisingly easy and hasn’t changed since living in France in my early 20’s. My very favorite dessert on the planet is mousse au chocolat, also known as chocolate mousse. My response always leads to the inevitable next question, “What’s your recipe for it??” For years, I didn’t have a response. I had such a hard time achieving that classic texture and taste that you get when ordering a mousse au chocolat at a French restaurant. It’s taken eight entire years of research and taste-testing. And guess what? I’ve FINALLY perfected it. And even more exciting, I can finally share it with you!
What makes this mousse au chocolat reminiscent of a French mousse is its sticky factor. While fluffy and light, it’s also sticky and rich — the way a chocolate mousse should be! And the stickiness is not like a caramel apple, it’s more like a soft-sticky, where your tongue and the roof of your mouth meet and make that click sound. You know what I mean?
This perfect stickiness is thanks to the eggs. They are just as important as the chocolate in a good mousse. American versions often replace the use of eggs for heavy whipping cream. The logic is understandable since heavy whipping cream can create a perfect fluffy mousse and it’s safer than eating raw eggs. However, the sticky factor and the depth of flavor is lost. For peace of mind, I recommend using fresh and organic eggs if possible. For an egg free version, take a look at this recipe instead: Mousse au Chocolat (No-Egg). It’s just heavy whipping cream and chocolate and while still delicious (cream and chocolate, yes please), it will not transport your tastebuds to France the way that this recipe will. Trust me.
This recipe creates a mousse that is both airy and dense, light and rich, and ideal for the chocolate lovers of the world. If chocolate isn’t your thing (gasp), you can enjoy mousse in other forms like Mousse au Chocolat Blanc (white chocolate mousse) or Nutella Mousse.
While sophisticated and French, this recipe is actually very easy to make. It doesn’t take longer than 15 minutes and it just requires whipping the ingredients together. The hard part is having the patience to not taste-test for hours while it chills in the refrigerator.
And finally, for the history buffs, here’s a little information on it’s creation.
Chocolate mousse, besides being delectable, also has a fascinating history. It was first known as “mayonnaise de chocolat” – and, even more interesting, was invented by world-renowned French post-Impressionist painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, in the late 19th century.
Primarily famous as a bohemian artist, Toulouse-Lautrec also was an experienced cook who found time to dabble in creating signature dishes. This one was a singular success. Chocolate mousse has become a classic, traditional but still versatile, which can be served in different ways.
Whether it’s piped into delicate pastry shells or hollowed fruits or served in elegant glassware, it’s a favorite dessert for countless diners, ranging from those who enjoy simple desserts to unashamed “chocoholics.” – The Culinary Institute of America
Mousse au chocolat really took off in America after WWII when French Chef’s started arriving in the East Coast and serving it as dessert. And now, you get to make it just like them! Bon appétit.
Mousse au Chocolat (French Chocolate Mousse)
- 4 Eggs Yolks and whites separated
- 2 Egg whites
- 1/3 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Chocolate, chips or chopped semi-sweet (or any kind); high quality
- 3 1/2 tbsp. Butter
- Scant 1/2 cup Crème fraiche slightly less than half cup
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks. In a large bowl, beat the yolks with the sugar on high speed until the mixture becomes pale and frothy.
- Melt the chocolate with the butter in a small bowl until smooth. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg-yolk mixture. Mix in the crème fraiche.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. It helps if the bowl is chilled and very clean. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
- Divide the mousse into 6-10 small ramekins, wine glasses, or dessert bowls. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. For a firmer mousse, place in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving.