Chocolate mousse is a rich chocolate dessert that is made with lots of chocolate and lightened with either egg whites, whipped cream or a combination of the two. A classic chocolate mousse, in my book, is a chocolate mousse that doesn’t use any whipped cream. It gets its lightness and structure from beaten egg whites. Sometimes it seems that these days, mousses are more likely to be made with whipped cream for lightness instead of egg whites. I assume that this change came about over concern for eating uncooked eggs, but after having had many too-foamy mousses that were more whipped cream than chocolate, I will tell you that there is definitely something to be said for the classic recipe made with little more than chocolate and eggs.
This classic mousse tastes more like chocolate pudding, with a very deep chocolate flavor and an incredibly smooth, rich texture. It is not nearing fudge in its density, but it is much more dense than a whipped cream-based dessert. Portions are smaller and more satisfying and it seems like you get a lot more chocolate flavor in each bite.
The mousse is quite easy to make. Egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks and folded into a mixture of melted chocolate and egg yolks that has been blended over a double boiler. I add in some vanilla for flavoring. It takes just a few minutes to prepare before going into the fridge to set up. If the uncooked eggs are a concern, look for pasteurized eggs in a nearby market and use those in this recipe. For a chocolate fan, it is definitely worth trying over a whipped cream-filled recipe just for the richness of the mousse. You can always serve it with a little bit of whipped cream, if you like.
Classic Chocolate Mousse
8-oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp sugar
4 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites, divided
2 tsp vanilla extract
In the top bowl of a double boiler, melt chocolate, whisking frequently so that no hot spots scorch the chocolate. Add in 1 tbsp sugar and whisk well. Whisk in egg yolks one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Chocolate mixture will be fairly thick.
Remove chocolate from heat.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites on medium-low speed until frothy. Increase speed of mixer to high and beat egg whites to stiff peaks.
Add 1/3 of egg whites to chocolate mixture and, using the electric mixer, blend them in. Add another 1/3 of egg whites and fold in. Fold in vanilla extract as well.
Fold in all remaining egg whites, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Fold until mousse is uniform in color and texture.
Divide into 6 small dessert cups. Chill for at least 1 1/2 hours, or until ready to serve.
Serve with whipped cream, if desired.