It's February! Yippee!! We made it through January and it's time for...CHOCOLATE!! After all the healthful eating of the last month we're totally due, right? And I can think of no better way to calm the raging beast than with this luscious and oh so chocolate-y French classic. Bring it on!!
Growing up, I always thought of chocolate mousse as the classiest, fanciest, chicest kind of dessert that you could only find in the best of restaurants. I think that's why I waited so long to attempt it on my own--it always seemed a little too intimidating. Now I know better and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long, because guys, it's easy. Not like "easy for someone who cooks a lot" but truly easy in the strict sense of the word, easy enough that you could make it anytime. Dangerously easy!!
There are only 6 ingredients at play (not counting the whipped cream and chocolate shavings which are not essential but highly advisable, as in you'd better make sure you have them on hand if you want to keep certain people happy) so it's really all about the chocolate (isn't it always?) so my advice would be to pick the best kind you can afford.
I promise you won't be disappointed! Not when every bite is lusciously, silkily smooth. And fear not, unlike old-fashioned chocolate mousse, the eggs are cooked here so you don't have to worry about any potential salmonella problems and that makes the eating of the chocolate so much more fun. February is definitely getting off to a good start!!
Easy French Chocolate Mousse
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes; Chill Time: At least one hour and up to one day ahead
- 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (if using bittersweet, don't go over 60%)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon water
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings for serving (optional)
1. Place the chocolate and cream in a medium stainless steel heatproof bowl and place it in a large skillet filled with barely simmering water (you could also use a double boiler for this if you prefer.) Whisk the mixture together until completely smooth and creamy and remove from the skillet and set aside. Do not get rid of the hot water in the skillet.
2. In a separate medium heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and salt until well combined. Then place in the skillet with the barely simmering water and use a rubber spatula to constantly mix the eggs until they have heated to 160ºF on a candy thermometer (you need to constantly stir so that the eggs don't scramble) and then remove the pan from the skillet. If you do see a few bits of egg that seem cooked, don't panic, just strain the entire mixture through a fine mesh sieve before you proceed to the next step.
3. Now use an electric mixer to beat the egg mixture on high speed for about 4 minutes until it thickens up and becomes lighter in color. Gently fold about 1/4 of the egg mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture to lighten it up and then fold the lightened up chocolate mixture into the remaining egg mixture. Pour into small ramekins or dessert cups. cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour and up to one day. Serve as is or with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Note: Recipe adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich. I tinkered a bit with some proportions and cooking techniques and left out the tablespoon of brandy.