- Choose your chocolate with care
- Be accurate with the temperatures
- Follow the recipe
- Make the mousse in advance
- Pipe it attractively
A dark chocolate mousse is about the most classic dessert you can make. It can be beautifully chewy but is usually airy. The word “mousse” is French – as so many things to do with cooking often are – and means “foam”. The charm of mousse largely lies in its texture, the mouth-feel, but the choice of chocolate used is absolutely key.
Choose the right chocolate
The sort of chocolate that goes by the name of “cooking chocolate” is not what you want in a mousse. The extra investment you make in better quality chocolate with deeper notes will pay for itself in flavor. So which chocolate is the “right” one? Go for the kind of chocolate that you’d want to eat on the way home, says Martin Isaksson, chocolatier at Chokladfabriken.
A short list of ingredients
Besides getting the right flavor chocolate (one you like in other words), there’s a trick to finding the right quality. The list of ingredients should be as short as possible. Good chocolate always contains cocoa mass, sugar and cocoa butter, maybe natural vanilla and often soy or sunflower lecithin for texture. Milk chocolate also contains powdered milk or cream. You don’t need anything else.
What sort do you like? Get that.
– Martin Isaksson, Chokladfabriken, explains how to choose chocolate
Quick chocolate mousse: crème chantilly
Making proper mousse takes time. If time is short, whip up a crème chantilly instead. It doesn’t contain any egg, just cream, and is fluffier, airier and less “chewy” than an orthodox chocolate mousse. (But you can call it a mousse when your guests ask).
To make crème chantilly:
Melt the chocolate and leave it to cool but not to solidify. Whip cream at room temperature. Mix the chocolate into the cream until it starts to taste like mousse. Decorate it beautifully and you’ve got a glamorous dessert. Eat immediately.
Make chocolate mousse in advance
Mousse will demand your complete attention while making it. This is why the guaranteed way to a perfect chocolate mousse is having time margins if something goes wrong. Factor that in, and nothing usually does go wrong. If you’ve got guests coming in the evening, you can easily make the mousse in the morning. You can also freeze it in individual portions.
Practice makes perfect mousse
When pastry chefs throw together a perfect chocolate mousse without any problems, it isn’t just sheer talent, it’s also the fact that they’ve done it thousands of times. If you want to be a master moussier, practice! There’s nothing actually wrong with eating mousse a few times a week for a month or two.
Being able to deliver depends on having practiced. Do it and do it again.
– Christophe Buchet, Bleck
Ingredients the same temperature
Take cold ingredients out of the fridge in time and allow the warm chocolate to cool so that the ingredients are all roughly the same temperature when you mix them together. Otherwise the mousse may split or become splintered with chocolate flakes instead of being smooth and all one color. This is called “tempering”. Chocolate professionals talk a lot about tempering the raw ingredient to attain the right texture and appearance, and to enable them to create a dessert that attracts all the senses.
Pipe your chocolate mousse!
Pastry chefs use a piping bag to pipe the mousse into the dishes. It’s an easy and quick way to divide the mousse between lots of bowls without it getting smeared round the edges. It looks more appealing too, and appearance is particularly important with desserts.
The right serving temperature
Take the mousse out of the fridge shortly before serving. For the flavors to develop properly, it needs to be about 15°C. After that, it starts to be a little too warm and wobbly for perfection.
Mousse is at its best at 15°C.
– Martin Isaksson, Chokladfabriken
Changing chocolate has consequences
If you want to switch to a chocolate with a lower or higher cocoa content than in the recipe, bear in mind that this will have consequences. Firstly, cocoa binds liquid so the cocoa content affects the solidity of the end result. Secondly, milk chocolate contains powdered milk or cream which also affects the consistency. Conclusion: when it comes to chocolate, it’s a good idea to follow a reliable recipe.
What is pâte à bombe?
Pâte à bombe is a French term for a mixture used as a base for chocolate mousse and other mousse-like desserts.
Pâte à bombe – method:
Mix a hot sugar solution with egg yolks and beat without stopping until the mixture is cold and has been transformed into a smooth, airy mass.
Quick chocolate mousse recipe
This slightly simpler recipe was created especially for PS by Martin Isaksson at Chokladfabriken, possibly Sweden’s foremost chocolatier (and world champion with the Swedish national culinary team, etc.)
Serves about 8
300g dark chocolate, preferably Manjari 64% from Valrhona
500ml whipped cream
- Soak the gelatin in cold water. Heat the milk to boiling point. Melt the gelatin in the milk.
- Add half of the hot milk to the chocolate and blend with a stick blender (use a high-sided bowl as it can splash).
- Once the milk and the chocolate are blended, continue to add a little milk at a time until you have a stable emulsion.
- Lightly whip the cream.
- Leave the chocolate emulsion to cool to about 35°C before folding in the cream. Pipe your masterpieces into individual dishes and decorate.
Advanced chocolate mousse recipe
This recipe was also created by Martin Isaksson at Chokladfabriken. You’ll find this and other professional chocolate recipes in his book Chokladfabrikens desserter.
Serves about 8
120g egg yolk
90g granulated sugar
325g dark chocolate, preferably Manjari 64% from Valrhona
170g whipped cream to heat
230g whipped cream to beat
- Mix the egg yolks, egg, sugar and water. Heat the egg mixture to 84°C in a bain-marie while beating so it doesn’t form lumps.
- Remove from the heat and continue beating without stopping until it is airy and warm to the touch.
- Melt the chocolate to about 37°C. Heat 170g of cream to the same temperature and stir into the chocolate.
- Lightly beat the rest of the cream.
- Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture and then fold in the lightly-whipped cream. Pipe into individual dishes.
- Serve with a decorative extra such as raspberry sauce.
Not just chocolate mousse
It’s easy to forget that “mousse” is a fluffy dessert that doesn’t necessarily have to contain chocolate. But if you want to try your hand at a mousse that contains completely different ingredients with completely different characteristics, remember to follow the recipe.