I know, I know. This is the second time I brought up chocolate mousse, but I promise, this is worth it. I’ll actually give the recipe this time. Also, this post is way (actually immensely) overdue, so much that today’s Valentine’s Day festivities make it relevant again, albeit barely. You can thank my work bff for begging me to celebrate random holidays with her.
You see, this all started as a way to celebrate January 23rd, which according to nameless internet folk is National Pie Day (wait, what about March 14th? I thought we eat pie on Pi Day…). My hilarious and unrelenting work bff literally begged me in every way possible to make her a pie for this nationally unknown holiday: through Facebook, gchat, texts, in person, even with emails/gchats from her husband! Ready to ignore the whole thing as a joke, I carried on with my day and left the office to cook dinner at home. Lo and behold a sign: buried in the back of my freezer was a whole wheat pie crust left over from Thanksgiving. Damn. After a millisecond contemplating how hard it would be to make apple pie, I settled for something easier to fill the pie crust with. Easier, yes, but I think much more delicious: chocolate mousse.
Now, with another holiday upon us (one that’s more legitimate than January 23rd), it’s the perfect time to talk about chocolate mousse again. What better way to celebrate love than with chocolate, after all?
When I made the mousse, I wanted something that would be stable enough to travel with since I had to bring some to work to share — unfortunately raw eggs were out. I turned the one person who appreciated chocolate as much as I do: David Lebovitz and his great book A Sweet Life in Paris. The first chocolate mousse I made on this blog is also from him and it’s much more traditional, but thankfully he also includes a version made without raw eggs in the book.
His alternate version calls for with heavy cream, and for the record it freezes beautifully if you’re silly enough like me to preserve some for a lucky coworker. Honestly, the pie overall wasn’t great — the whole wheat crust just didn’t work well with the mousse filling. The mousse would be perfect for a graham cracker crust if you feel like making enough to share, like an elevated version of the chocolate pudding pies made from Jell-O boxes that I ate as a kid.
This mousse though, real talk now. So rich but not too dark. The greatest balance between milky sweet and the slightest bitter bite. I usually prefer my chocolate very rich and dark, much to the dismay of normal humans everywhere, but since I made it to share, I wanted to edge off the dark side of the chocolate spectrum. This mousse did NOT disappoint my coworker, my housemates or even dark-chocolate-loving me. Case and point: my work bff did a happy dance in her cubicle after taking the first bite. So if you’re planning to make this and continue your Valentine celebrations into the weekend, take heed that this may cause a spontaneous dance party. Happy Valentine’s Day & enjoy!
Chocolate Mousse made with cream
David Lebovitz’s recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, but I think what made mine so complex in flavor is that I didn’t have any semisweet chocolate on hand. Instead, I used 1 bar of milk chocolate (33%) and one bar of very dark chocolate (80%) hoping that it would even out (verdict: YES, it so did). I think it would even be OK to have half milk and half bittersweet chocolate (70%). Feel free to play around with different kinds, but always made sure it’s good quality chocolate, as it’s the main ingredient and there isn’t much else to mask mediocre chocolate.
Also, I don’t keep Chartreuse (a type of liqueur) in the house, which is what Lebovitz’s recipe calls for. Fortunately, this works well with other flavored liqueurs like Frangelico (hazelnut) or Kahlua (coffee — though he suggests subbing actual espresso). I would even try this with Grand Marnier (orange).
Makes 4 to 6 servings (or enough to fill an 8 or 9-inch pie crust)
Adapted from the A Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
- 3.5 oz of milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 3.5 oz of dark or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (alternately, you can use 7 oz of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate instead of the two different kinds)
- 4 Tablespoons of salted butter, diced
- 3 Tablespoons of Frangelico
- 1/4 cup of water
- 3/4 cup of heavy cream
1) In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate, butter, Frangelico, and water until smooth. Note that the bowl must big enough that the bottom doesn’t touch the hot water in the pan but hovers above the water when resting on top of the pan. Once melted, set aside to cool.
2) In another bowl, beat the cream with a whisk or electric hand mixer until it has formed soft peaks. The peaks should droop a little when you lift the whisk or mixer from the bowl.
3) Fold a third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture slowly until just incorporated. Then fold in the rest of the cream with your chocolate mixture.
4) Cover and chill for at least 3 hours before serving. If you want, you can divide the mousse into individual serving ramekins, or pour into a fully baked pie crust before placing into the fridge to chill.
Note: if necessary, you can freeze this for later. Cover the top of the mousse with plastic wrap, making sure to fully cover it and remove air bubbles, then cover with foil. Freeze until needed.