Decadent Chocolate Mousse


A mousse is a light, chilled dessert that incorporates egg whites to create an airy texture, and is a classic in French cooking. I’m preparing for the art and cooking retreat here in April. Chocolate mousse is one of the recipes we’ll be working on in class. It’s delicious, so nobody minds if I make it over and over before the retreat. It disappears fast around here.

This recipe is based on Julia Child’s, with a bit of streamlining, mostly to make things work for me in a class setting, but it also makes it a bit easier in the home kitchen as well.

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How to make Chocolate Mousse:

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
4 tablespoons prepared coffee
1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter

Melt chocolate in a small pot with the coffee. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring to melt.
¾ cup sugar
4 egg yolks
¼ cup orange juice, orange liqueur, or dark rum

Julia uses orange liqueur. Some people don’t like using any kind of liquor in recipes, so I tried it with orange juice and it works just fine. It would work just as well, also, with any flavor liqueur or a nice dark rum.
Beat egg yolks and sugar. Beat in the juice, liqueur, or rum. Set mixing bowl over hot water and beat until foamy. Set bowl over cold water and beat 3-4 minutes until it cools and thickens. Beat in the chocolate mixture.
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle on the sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.

I remember one time a few years ago at Stringtown Rising I did a post where I tried to beat egg whites by hand. You know, making kindred spirits with pioneer women. (What was wrong with me back then? Ha!) I can tell you I’ll never try to beat egg whites by hand again. It’s best done in a stand mixer so you can just go away and leave it to do the work for you, but my stand mixer is in the studio. The studio is almost finished being repaired, but I still can’t get in there to cook yet. I used my hand mixer at home, which is definitely not my preference. But it beats mixing with a wire whisk by hand for sure!
Fold the egg whites into mousse mixture.

From here, you can divide into serving dishes or leave it one large dish–then chill at least two hours or overnight. I divided some into two small jam jars, for me and Morgan with supper, and left the rest all in one bowl because I’ll be giving it to my neighbor. I left room at the top of the jars to add some creme anglaise, which I’ll be making next. Creme anglaise is a very handy light custard sauce, an absolute crucial classic in many French desserts. If you watch the Food Network show Chopped, you’ll often see chefs going for a creme anglaise in the dessert round.
You can find the recipe for creme anglaise here, but let me say one more thing about the mousse. According to Julia, who is quite emphatic about it, many people will call a chocolate mousse topped with either whipped cream or creme anglaise “pots de creme” which is utterly abhorrent to our dear Julia! A “creme” in French cooking is a custard, PERIOD. Mousse is not a custard. And even topping it with creme anglaise (which IS a custard sauce) does not turn it in to pots de creme.
Just letting you know. You don’t want to make Julia mad, do you?

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.
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  1. nanaK says:

    I have a question re: your Chocolate Mousse recipe …Would you say your posted recipe would serve 4-6 in desert dishes depending on the size (oz.) of the dishes? I have 6 oz. & 8 oz. dishes … trying to figure this for 8 people. Thank you 🙂

  2. LauraP says:

    Love, love, love chocolate mousse and have since my French I teacher taught us how to make it my freshman year of high school. Awesome teacher, btw, who believed we should learn a bit of culture & history along with the language. She sweetened the mousse lesson by making it a competition between the boys and girls. The girls’ mousse was much better because we folded the egg whites into the chocolate mixture every so gently while the guys weren’t so careful and ended up with more of a fluffy pudding than a mousse.

  3. Joell says:

    Love, love love Julia, I watched her all of the time when I was young(er) I remember her once dropping a chicken n the floor and picking it up and proceeding on with the recipe.
    This recipe sounds heavenly, I aso like the way you are serving such an elegant desert in such a country manner—perfect!

  4. Ann W says:

    Yummy! Suzanne, have you ever thought of doing a series on You-tube about cooking, crafts, etc.? You explain things so well in your blog. I bet you could create excellent videos on how to make soap, cheese, milk a cow, making your own cleaners, anything you want to show. I even think you can get a little income from it, too, but I don’t know how that works. “You Can Do It” by Suzanne McMinn, Chickens in the Road.

  5. Leck Kill Farm says:

    This was the first dessert I learned to make, more than 20 years ago. My husband has refused to eat another other again, saying none compare to mine. Personally, I think liquor of some sort is preferable to juice if alcohol isn’t an issue. I think liquor enhances the chocolate taste and the overall texture.

    I use dark chocolate when my mom is coming to dinner but as she puts it, “that’s not for amateurs.”

  6. MousE says:

    … do you have time to post the creme anglaise recipe, Suzanne? I know you are swamped right now… hope everything is ok!

  7. MousE says:

    And I love Ann W.’s suggestion! :snoopy:

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