4 ounces (115 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
2 large eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
Chocolate Mousse: In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Then whisk in the two egg yolks. Refrigerate while you whip the egg whites and whipping cream.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), whip the two egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add two tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, yet the whites are still glossy and not dry. Set aside.
In another bowl, whip the heavy cream, remaining one tablespoon sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
Remove the chocolate mixture from the refrigerator, and stir a couple of spoonfuls of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then fold the remaining whites into the chocolate mixture, gently but thoroughly. Fold in the whipped cream.
Spoon the chocolate mousse into six individual serving dishes or glasses. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Can serve with additional whipped cream, fresh raspberries and/or shaved chocolate.
Makes 6 servings. Preparation time 20 minutes.
Chocoholics Beware. One spoonful of this Chocolate Mousse and you will be hooked forever. It is what I call a grown up chocolate pudding. A simple yet elegant dessert. While it uses only a few ingredients, chocolate, eggs, butter, vanilla, and heavy cream, its chocolate flavor is rich and its texture is silky smooth and airy, almost foamy. And foamy is an apt description as "mousse" is French for 'froth' or 'foam'.
Now, there are chocolate mousse recipes that simply involve folding whipped cream into melted chocolate. Good, yes, but to make a sublime chocolate mousse with that lovely "mouth-feel", you also need egg yolks, whipped egg whites, and whipped heavy cream. Since there are so few ingredients in a chocolate mousse, the chocolate you pick is very important. Use a good quality semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate that you enjoy eating out of hand. My personal preference is a semi sweet chocolate containing about 60% cacao. When choosing a chocolate, always look for one that has a lovely shiny finish (a sign that the chocolate was cooked at the right temperature for the right amount of time) and one that has that wonderful 'snap' when you break it into pieces.
A chocolate mousse does not involve cooking and you do not need fancy equipment. You only need three bowls, one for melting the chocolate and butter, the second for whipping the egg whites, and the third for whipping the heavy cream. (Note: We are using raw egg yolks and whites so the eggs should be very fresh with no cracks in the shell, and if you are worried about salmonella I would avoid this dessert.) So the first step is to melt the chocolate and butter and then whisk in the egg yolks. The next step is to beat, in separate bowls, the egg whites and the heavy cream. Then fold the whites and cream into the chocolate mixture, gently but thoroughly. And that is it. Scoop the mousse into pretty bowls or glasses and eat straight away or refrigerate for a few hours. I like to serve this dessert simply, as it really needs no adornment. But if you like, whipped cream, shaved chocolate, and fresh raspberries are perfect accompaniments.