This mousse is all about air – and chocolate – but, actually, mostly air. I don’t like a gluggy mousse. Gluggy custard, I love, but a good mousse should be full of air bubbles and have the lightest texture possible, a soft little cloud of chocolate. I don’t count chocoholia amongst my many food additions – sure it’s yummy, sometimes it is definitely necessary, but I am not so connoisseurial. I like milk chocolate (foodie sin!); I am particularly happy if it has hazelnuts in it. And, (most controversial of all!) I don’t buy into this stuff about Australian-produced Cadbury’s being better than the British stuff (there is just so little difference… but if pushed, the British is perhaps a little nicer? *Gasp*). So I preface this recipe by saying that I am a chocolate pleb and unpatriotic to boot. Try this mousse though – it is really good – I promise.
- 100g dark chocolate (70 cocoa solids), plus an extra block for chocolate curl decoration.
- 50g good quality milk chocolate
- 4 eggs – separated
- Pinch of salt
- 50g caster sugar
- 150mls double cream
- Heaped tbsp. of cocoa powder
So – I’ve just come out as a fan of milk chocolate, but this recipe uses mostly very dark. I have experimented with the different cocoa solid percentages a bit, and you do need the chocolate you use for this to pack a decent punch if the resultant mousse is going to taste chocolately at all after the cream and eggs go in. The 2 parts dark to 1 part milk ratio that I’ve settled on produces a milk chocolotely tasting mousse, but one that is dark enough in colour to look good, and strong enough to address chocolate cravings!
Break all the chocolate into squares, and melt dark and light together with a pinch of salt in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. The water should not reach up to the base of the pan as this can result in the chocolate burning. Stir as necessary and keep an eye on proceedings while you get on with the below.
Lay out three bowls. In the first, place the egg whites, in the second, the cream, and in the third, the yolks.
Start with the whites, whipping these to soft peak consistency using an electric mixer. Move on to the cream, whipping again to soft peaks. Knock any cream that remains stuck in the whisk gently back to join the rest. Into the final bowl, (the one containing the egg yolks), add the caster sugar and beat until smooth. (This order is all about avoiding the need to wash the mixer whisks… Egg whites wont whip properly if there is even a trace of water or grease present on the whisks or in the bowl, so it is best to start with these when the mixer is fresh from the cupboard. You can then move onto the cream (this won’t mind a touch of residual egg white), and similarly, the yolks and sugar can certainly stand a bit of contamination with the contents of the previous bowl.
Tip the melted chocolate into the bowl containing the egg yolks, add the cocoa and mix through thoroughly.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cream, and when this is more or less incorporated, gently fold through the egg whites. It is ok if you don’t completely eliminate every last trace of the frothy whites, just keep with the folding until it becomes a coherent mix with a uniform colour.
Carefully spoon into individual serving glasses then place on a tray and into the fridge to set for a minimum of 2 hours.
To make the chocolate curl topping, refrigerate the dark chocolate until it feels very solid. Using the heaviest knife you have, and proceeding with extreme care, hold the knife with both hands – one on the handle and the other at the tip end, holding on to the (blunt) top edge. Drag the knife very slowly and heavily towards you across the back (i.e. un-indented) side of the chocolate. (Or, if this all sounds a little high risk, a bit of pressure applied with a decently sharp speed peeler will give a similar effect).
On removing from the fridge, decorate the mousse cups with the curls – I am quite partial to a kind of chocolate tepee effect…
Dig in! Yummy, no…?