My Favourite Chocolate Mousse: an American Recipe.

I have to start this post off by saying this recipe isn’t mine. Like the recipe for Crème Caramel, (in the recipe section) I can do no better, this chocolate mousse, is simply the best. For someone who’s not a chocolate lover, I make this mousse a lot, one of my daughters will eat it for breakfast, (it covers all the food groups, doesn’t it), and every time I post it on Instagram, I have several requests for the recipe, so, for those of you who don’t have Thomas Keller’s fabulous book Bouchon, here it is. He also uses it in a tart, with the most delicious hazelnut crust (see below): a gorgeous crumbly, nutty pastry with a lovely saltiness to it that compliments the mousse perfectly.

Now, I haven’t altered either recipe, apart from the salt I’ve used, which is Malden Sea Salt, and I usually use Belgian Callebaut chocolate, instead of Valrhona, for no other reason than I always have a good supply of these in my house. When I make the mousse I like to sprinkle it with a pistachio praline for a little crunch, and just dust the tart with cocoa powder and sprinkle shaved chocolate around the edge, nothing more is needed, let it be the star in all its glory. Now before you try these recipes – no guilt – just enjoy every delicious mouthful, please do. Oh, and one last minor point; as these are American recipes I’ve chosen not to convert to grams.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Serves 8

  • 41/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Valrhona Manjari (64%), finely chopped
  • 2tbsp (1 ounce) unsalted butter, diced
  • 2tbsp espresso or hot water
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 1tbsp sugar

Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in a stainless steel bowl over hot, but not boiling water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool until chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it’s too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added. Meanwhile, whip the cream into soft peaks and put aside. Whip the egg whites until they are foamy and beginning to hold their shape. Sprinkle on the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites until just incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining cream. Spoon the mousse into a serving bowl, or individual little dishes and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Hazelnut Crust

Serves 8

  • 1/3 cup fresh, skinned hazelnuts
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
  • 10 tbsp (5 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 7 1/2 ounces (13/4 cups) plain flour
  • 1-2tbsp ice water
  • Butter and flour for the tart tin
  • Dark chocolate mousse, just prepared
  • Cocoa powder
  • Shaved bitter chocolate

Finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor, then add the sugar and grind again. Add the salt and butter and flour, and process until the mix comes together, adding ice water as necessary. Remove the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling.

Butter and flour an 11 inch tart tin with a removable bottom.

Between 2 sheets of baking paper roll the dough into a 14 inch circle about ¼ inch thick. Remove the top sheet of paper, roll up dough around the rolling pin and unroll it into the tart tin. Gently lift the edges to ease the dough into the corners of the tin, then push down gently to be certain the dough around the sides is ¼ inch thick. Cut away excess dough. If there are any thin spots in the sides of the tart shell, pat a bit of the dough scraps over them to create an even thickness. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and refrigerate for ½ hour.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line the tart shell with baking paper and fill with dry beans. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden brown. Don’t rush this process, if the weights are removed too early, the sides will shrink. Remove baking paper and beans and bake until it is a rich golden brown and the bottom is thoroughly cooked. Place on a rack and cool completely. When crust is cool, spread the mousse into the tart shell and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate, covered, for 8 hours to allow the mousse to set completely.

To serve, dust the top evenly with cocoa powder, and sprinkle the shaved chocolate around the edges.