P1090360Sometimes you eat something that transports you to heaven, with angels blowing on trumpets and rays of golden light. This chocolate mousse is so light and fluffy, to call it a cloud of chocolate would be too heavy. It’s a dream about chocolate, set to angelic music.

The ingredients are very simple. The keys to success are all in the process. Don’t worry–it’s still easy. A dessert you can whip up in a few minutes. BUT plan ahead. It should be made at least a day ahead, if not two. The air bubbles grow, making the mousse even lighter.

First, you should know the different Schools of Chocolate Mousse. There are the Whipped Cream School, the Egg White School and the fence-straddling Cream-and-Egg School. An all-chocolate French cookbook (Le Chocolate, from Madame Figaro magazine) has FOUR chocolate mousse recipes, in the Cream and Cream-and-Egg camps. A recipe on Cuisine Larousse, as well as one by Alain Ducasse, uses cream, but both count on the egg whites to make the foam (mousse means foam). The Whipped Cream School basically makes something like chocolate Cool Whip–OK for what it is, but lacking the seemingly contradictory qualities of airiness and creaminess that makes chocolate mousse so special.P1090345Some recipes mix cream with the chocolate–like ganache–or butter with the chocolate, or both cream and butter. The point is to increase the fat content, for that creamy quality, rather than to whip the cream. The egg whites are what provide the fluff, which is airier and longer lasting than whipped cream. This recipe uses only butter, which is 82% fat; heavy cream is only 36% fat.

This recipe is squarely in the Egg Camp and comes from the great-grandmother of our friend R., who provided the very important passed-down-through-generations tips that make all the difference. (When I asked him about cream in chocolate mousse, he made a terrible grimace!) Another special point is that this recipe uses the egg yolks (some in the Egg School use only the whites), adding to the creamy factor in the way that some ice cream uses custard–yolks are 27% fat.

Before some of you faint over the idea of eating raw egg whites, even chocolate ones, let me point you to Santé Publique France, which in 2015 counted 141 cases of salmonella, with 20%, or 28 cases, linked to eggs, out of a population of 67 million. On the French government’s National Agency for Health Safety of Food, the Environment and Work’s page about salmonella, it cautions that recipes using raw eggs should be kept cold and eaten within 24 hours. That said, chocolate mousse is even the third day. A risk I’m willing to take (though waiting is hard!).


6 or 7 eggs, depending on their size

200 g (7 oz.) butter, cut into small chunks

200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar

200 g (7 oz or 2/3 cup) dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao, which won’t taste like dark chocolate in the end; if you like darker, up the percentage), broken into small bits

Turn on the oven to just warm (60 Celsius or 140 Fahrenheit). Put the butter and chocolate into an oven-proof pan or dish and let it melt slowly in the oven, until the butter and chocolate are very soft but not liquid. R.’s advice: the oven heats the ingredients more gently than the microwave and more homogenously, without having to stir a lot, than a double-boiler on the stove.

The yolks and sugar. It starts out very yellow and gets progressively lighter in color as you mix.

While it’s melting, measure the sugar into a large bowl. Add the egg yolks, separating the whites into a separate mixer bowl for beating. Mix the yolks and sugar by hand (important! otherwise it comes out too “hard”) until the mixture is white.

Stir the butter and chocolate so they are completely integrated, then pour into the yolk/sugar mixture. Mix that well.

Using an electric mixer, beat the whites until they are stiff. You can turn it on while you’re mixing the previous step but keep an eye out that you don’t overbeat the whites or they’ll collapse. Anyway, you want the chocolate mixture to cool down before adding the egg whites, or the heat will deflate the eggs and make the mousse too dense. The chocolate mixture just has to be warm enough that it doesn’t get hard.

Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in batches. Use a wooden spoon or a spatula, and gently guide the batter from the bottom to the top, in one direction! You want the whites to be integrated into the batter, but it’s more important not to have streaks of chocolate mixture vs. trying to get rid of all the little blobs of whites.

That’s it. You can put it into a large serving bowl or into individual bowls. It makes about 10 half-cup servings (small ramekins). If you want to double the recipe, it’s better to do it twice, because you risk over/under beating the egg whites if the volume is too great.

Refrigerate as long as possible. At least three hours, but better is overnight or up to two days. If you have anything smelly in the fridge, cover the mousse tightly with plastic film.



48 thoughts on “Secrets for the Best Chocolate Mousse

  1. Very interesting! So based on your stats, the chances in one year of getting salmonellosis in France from raw eggs is about 1 in 2.6 million.

    While the rate of salmonellosis in the US is much higher than in the France and it can make you very sick, Americans have a greater chance of actually DYING in any year from the following causes:

    Earthquake or other earth movements 1 in 2.5 million.

    Air and space transport accidents 1 in 800,000

    Drowning in a pool swimming pool 1 in 460,000

    Buy your chances of dying by assault by firearm are astonishingly high at 1 in 29,000-higher than death in a motor vehicle accident!

    Worldwide your chances of dying from a flesh eating bacteria are 1 in 1 million

    Being crushed by a meteor is considerably more likely than contracting salmonellosis from raw eggs with odds of 1 in 700,000

    So I guess I’ll keep eating raw eggs in my chocolate mousse.

    (BTW-the recipe looks fab and I can’t wait to try the butter version!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for sharing that recipe – it looks a wonderful chocolate mousse!! A friend brought a mousse made the same way for dinner on last Tuesday! It was totally delicious – pure gluttony – and there was hardly any leftover, but for my taste it is a little too rich. My preferred recipe is egg and cream based, and the secret to lightness is water, thinning the egg yolk and chocolate mixture before folding in the whipped whites, so that they don’t deflate too much in the process. Whipped cream goes in after the whites, by which time the mixture has cooled sufficiently.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Goodness, what an amazing post! You haven’t left out one single detail for making this beautiful dessert. I have made Salmon Mousse, but never ventured into the desserts. There is a restaurant, RISE, 1 block from my home in Houston, the entire menu consists of different mousses. For lunch or dessert. Lots to experience. But you’ve made the making of this chocolate divinity seem easy. We shall see.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love your recipes, but I seem to need details. Like making a quiche you said 3 eggs and 1 cup of milk/cream, so that really makes sense and no need for a recipe as long as I follow your ratio tip.
    I love this recipe too. 200 grams of each, but not sure about 6 or 7 eggs – not sure what that means or does it even matter? I heard Ina/Barefoot Contessa say she uses extra large eggs, but that did not work for me and messed up a recipe for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The number of eggs depends on the size. But this isn’t baking, so it will come out regardless. Baking is a magical, chemical transformation of a liquid into a solid. This doesn’t cook. The egg whites are just the foam to carry the chocolate.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yummy! Chocolate mousse, how I miss my mother’s chocolate mousse. Her mousse was much better the following day, like yours, but it was soooo difficult to wait till next dinner.
    I think her recipe was pretty much similar to yours. Will certainly try the tip about melting the chocolate and butter in the oven.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I will make this for VALENTINES DAY!SOUNDS easy enough………I do like the OVEN IDEA!As I always burn the CHOCOLATE!
    Made a quiche today from A MOTHER’s INSIGHT blog a few posts back.LOOKS DELICIOUS!We will see what THAT ITALIAN has to say!!!!!!!
    MERCI MERCI…….we must keep the OLD SECRETS GOING!!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Perfect timing! One of my 2018 #goals is to deliberately and unapologetically enjoy dessert on special occasions. The caveat is they are high quality, no junk, preferably homemade. I’m putting this on the menu for St. Valentine’s Day. (I’m giving up swearing for Lent so this should help maintain my righteous spirit).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m making this right now for a mid-winter Christmas tomorrow night (I live in New Zealand), I can’t wait to try it!!
    But… have gently hand mixed the yolks and sugar for about 5 min, and they’re not going pale. I would still say its orange. Is this bc its free range eggs? Should I keep mixing? It has loosened.
    I will stop mixing now, but would be good to know for next time!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah ok- that makes sense!
        I am really making this more difficult than it should be… I’ve redone it this morning as I think I over-beat the whites- so there were lots of little white bits. There still is a bit of that- but it’s much softer and more blended in the final mix.
        I also found it difficult to get all the chocolate softened without totally melting the butter. I will grate the chocolate next time. I think being a cold kitchen also compounded this- as when I took it out of the oven if I put the bowl on the cold granite bench it would solidify around the edges again.
        The one I made last night tastes amazing- just more dense than it should be. Hopefully the “Pop” (who’s babysitting) likes it though!
        I’m going to try making caramelised orange slices to go with it… can’t wait!
        Thanks for responding so quickly!!

        Liked by 1 person

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