Is chocolate mousse the holy grail of puddings? Victoria Glass argues the case for this delicious mix of chocolate and eggs. With the health benefits of chocolate regularly appearing in the news, perhaps it’s time to reassess the naughtiness of chocolate.
A good rich chocolate mousse recipe deserves a place in everyone’s repertoire. It is deceptively quick to make and only contains two ingredients. That’s right. Two. Chocolate mousse is a magical combination of chocolate and eggs only, so ignore the recipes that get you reaching for the double cream. You really don’t need it. It is rich and silky in its natural dairy-free state and you can believe me when I say this, as I’m certainly not in the habit of skimping on flavour for the sake of saving a few calories. I’d rather forego pudding entirely than eat something virtuous, especially if it tastes it. This mousse, I can assure you, tastes of pure indulgence. So is chocolate mousse the holy grail of puddings?
The potential health benefits of chocolate are big news right now. From claims that it helps to lower blood pressure and its high vitamin and mineral content, it seems that eating chocolate is practically part of our five a day. Or that’s what I like to tell myself. This mousse contains roughly 200 calories a serving, which more or less makes it a diet food. And if you want it to stay that way, read no further.
Once you’ve mastered the marriage of chocolate and eggs, anything else you add is extra and can be changed to suit seasons and whims. I like to sweeten mine, just a little, with light muscovado or the syrup from a jar of Chinese stem ginger. You can add orange zest and a slug of booze, or fold in some chopped fresh mint for a hint of aero. Starting with a ready-flavoured dark chocolate is the perfect shortcut flavour boost or stir in some candied red chilli for an uplifting hit of fire. In autumn, I love the combination of maple syrup and dark rum topped with a generous layer of chestnut cream. It may ruin the slimline bones of this classic dessert, but you didn’t really think I was going to remain too virtuous, did you?
Chocolate, maple, rum and chestnut mousse
The basic recipe for rich chocolate mousse (Martini glass sized servings) is 1 large egg per head, plus 30-35g of dark chocolate. From there you can enjoy it in its natural state, or add your own flavour notes.
To feed 6
For the mousse
6 large eggs, separated
200g dark chocolate
A pinch of salt
A splash of maple syrup, to taste
A splash of dark rum, to taste
For the chestnut cream
200ml double/whipping cream
250g sweetened, vanilla chestnut puree (I used Clement Faugier)
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a bowl of barely simmering water.
In the meantime, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks with the salt.
Once the chocolate has melted, take off the heat and quickly beat in the egg yolks one at a time, until you have a smooth consistency.
Whisk in a drizzle of maple syrup and taste for sweetness and flavour, adding more if necessary. Whisk in a splash of rum – not too much, just enough to add a subtle, spicy warmth. Beat in a spoonful of the whisked egg whites to slacken the mixture, before folding in the remaining egg white with a large, metal spoon.
Divide the mixture between your glasses and leave to set for a couple of hours in the fridge. You can do this the night before if you’re organised enough.
Once the mousses have set, whisk the cream and fold in the chestnut puree. I don’t mix it too thoroughly as I like a few pretty streaks of chestnut running through the cream.
Spread the chestnut cream over the top of the mousse and garnish with some blackberries or a dusting of cocoa. Pop them back into the fridge until you’re ready to eat
Do you have a favourite chocolate mousse recipe? What are the flavourings that you add to make it extra special?