18 Jun 2013

Mousse au Chocolat

Let's demystify the chocolate mousse as a tricky fussy sweet, based on the vague assumption that all of French baking requires skill. Besides, the scores of recipe variants out there mislead the authentic method. Firstly, is the mousse that difficult a dessert to make? Well, just ask my ten-year-old self, this is how old I was when I whipped up my first mousse - with a little help from my grandma. This aside, I am about to demonstrate to you how unfussy this dessert really is. But most of all, the key to the success of this recipe relies on the quality and freshness of the ingredients, especially in terms of chocolate and eggs, and not to rush through the prep. Then Bob's your uncle and in no time will that mousse be added to your to-impress repertoire!

Serves: 4
Preparation: 20 mins
Cooking: 4 mins
  • 200g bar of good quality dark cooking chocolate (minimum 65% cocoa content)
  • 50g organic salted butter
  • 4 free range organic medium eggs 
  • 4 tsp caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
Melt the chocolate in a bain marie. To do so, snap the chocolate bar into small pieces that you place in a small saucepan or heatproof glass bowl (Pyrex). Then fill a kettle with water and bring it to the boil. Place a big saucepan on the cooker. Pour enough of the boiling water into the big saucepan so that the bottom of the smaller pan containing the chocolate pieces (or the heatproof glass bowl) rests comfortably just over the hot water line (i.e. without touching it). Turn on the cooker on low, and leave the chocolate to melt, without tampering with it. Keep an eye on the boiling water so that it doesn't splutter unexpectedly or start boiling away out of control, as all is needed is a gentle simmer for the chocolate to gently melt.

The chocolate sauce

Once the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat and take the small pan (or glass bowl) off the big saucepan of hot water. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, but no longer than that otherwise the chocolate will start hardening. Add the butter to the melted lukewarm chocolate and mix together with a wooden spoon. Leave to cool further while you deal with the eggs.

Separate the 4 whites from the 4 yolks into two separate bowls. Add a pinch of salt to the whites and beat up with the electric whisk until stiff.

Add the caster sugar to the yolks and beat up with the electric whisk until the preparation has paled down in colour and fluffled up.

Add the yolks and sugar mix into the chocolate sauce and blend delicately with the spoon. Then slowly and light-handedly add the whisked whites into the sauce, one spoonful at a time, making sure not to crush the whites into the preparation. The mousse consistency is airy and bubbly. Think a softer (and nicer!) version of the Aero bar! Place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Serve on its own, or even better with homemade English Custard, a couple of tablespoons of Bitter Orange Marmelade to taste and a selection of your favourite Macaroons.