I still get kitchen-intimidated. It happens when I least expect it… like when I’m trying to satisfy a chocolate mousse craving and I stumble upon a seemingly approachable Food & Wine recipe.
This recipe for extra-creamy Chocolate Mousse is from cronut innovator Dominique Ansel… pastry genius.
Here’s the thing about pastry innovators: they tend to make challenging things look really easy, god bless ’em.
It’s not that mousse is impossible. It’s mostly approachable and 100% delicious but does require some a candy thermometer, egg whites beaten just-so, and well… some self-confidence and guts.
No guts, no chocolate mousse glory.
First we hold our breaths and make the meringue.
Here’s how that goes down in the kitchen:
Egg whites are beaten in a stand mixer at medium speed. Feel free to stand there and zone-out as the egg whites become foamy and frothy. Mark this zone-out as your one and only while making this mousse.
We can’t dilly-dally for too long because we need to make a hot sugar syrup while the egg whites get frothy. Water and sugar are boiled to precisely 240 degrees F while our eggs beat to precisely soft peaks. Yup. Two forms of kitchen science at once. Stay present. Stay in the game. We’ve only just begun.
The hot sugar syrup is drizzled into the soft-peaked eggs and with the mixer on high, our two forms of kitchen science form one glossy, light mound of perfect meringue. Deep breath. We are successful.
Meringue aside, it’s time to deal with the chocolate.
Whole milk is heat to hot hot hot and poured over finely chopped chocolate. The hot milk will melt the chocolate so all we have to do is stare longingly at the mixture for exactly 1 minute before stirring into a smooth chocolate sauce. All the chocolate pieces should be melted into the sauce. We can’t stand for a chunky mousse.
Up next, whipped cream!
Cream: whipped. Not too complicated.
The trick with the whipped cream is to beat it into a soft and loose whipped cream. We don’t want to cream too hard or pointy.
Meeting of minds: half of the meringue meets most of the whipped cream.
We don’t actually need all of the meringue for this recipe… half will do to fluff, lighten, and add structure to the mousse.
Just a bit of whipped cream is reserved for garnish. Extra creamy never hurt a thing.
Meringue and whipped cream are folded together lightly, being careful not to deflate the meringue.
In with the chocolate.
Cooled chocolate ganache is added to the meringue and cream.
I’m pretty sure I held my breath while folding the chocolate into the cream. We need to incorporate the chocolate without deflating the mousse. It’s a balancing act.
Fold until chocolate streaks and cream streaks have smoothed to homogenous. Taste as we go? I mean… why not?
Chocolate mousse, streaked with dark chocolate and cream, refrigerated until chilled to light and fluffy. Also, we should pat ourselves on the back, because… mousse!
Be careful when grabbing a spoon. You’re liable to finish the entire batch. Speak from experience. Mousse is not dinner (apparently.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably 70 percent, finely chopped
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240° on a candy thermometer, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, gradually pour in the hot syrup in a steady stream and beat at high speed until the whites are stiff, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover the meringue with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature.
- Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the milk just to a simmer. Pour the milk over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth and let cool.
- In a bowl, beat the cream to soft peaks. Reserve 1/2 cup of the whipped cream for serving.
- Scoop half of the meringue into a bowl (reserve the rest for another use) (I know it's weird but we only need half of the meringue). Whisk in the remaining (majority) whipped cream.
- Warm the chocolate mixture in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water if it has hardened to not pourable. Stir until just melted. Pour the chocolate over the meringue and quickly fold it in.
- Spoon the mousse into glasses, swirl in the reserved whipped cream and serve.