make the perfect after-dinner dessert
If I have room for a bit of sweet something after a meal, I want it to be small and delicious. In my book, it is hard to beat a couple of good chocolates and indeed this is what often passes for, or rather replaces the need for, dessert.
But when I’ve invited friends round, it seems a little lazy to just break out a box of chocolates. In terms of a satisfying chocolate hit, the next best thing is a chocolate mousse. This also has the benefit of being a perennially chic dessert, whilst bearing testimony to the cook’s (French) culinary skills in an understated way.
I have long wrestled with recipes for chocolate mousse and felt that there was a well-kept secret that I hadn’t been let in on, as batch after batch seemed to seize.
These attempts didn’t go to waste but the very dense pudding that resulted from them was not airy and melt-in-the-mouth.
Finally, I’ve cracked it and I am very happy to be able to share with you the things that worked for me!
* Whisking the egg whites with a little sugar seems to make them more robust so they hold their volume better as you fold in
* Using a whisk to incorporate the first third of egg whites to the chocolate and egg yolks will get you past the ‘yikes, it’s seized and is a total failure’ stage to a smooth chocolatey mixture
* For a perfect mousse, use 2/3 milk chocolate and 1/3 dark chocolate – I find all dark chocolate makes it too rich and all milk chocolate doesn’t give a bubbly consistency and has a tendency to stay runny
Melt all the chocolate together in a large bowl (you’ll add the rest of the ingredients to this so there needs to be space) and leave it to cool a little.
Separate the eggs into yolks and whites.
Whisk egg whites until they start to look like clouds and sprinkle the sugar in, still whisking, until the mixture is thick and glossy.
Add the egg yolks to the molten chocolate and stir in with a whisk. Don’t panic as it thickens dramatically. Straight away, add a third of the egg white and sugar mix to the chocolate and egg yolk mix and whisk in vigorously. You should have a smooth chocolatey mixture.
Now add half of the remaining egg white and sugar mix and fold in with a large metal spoon. Then repeat with the rest of the egg white mixture.
Spoon into coffee cups or ramekins or leave as one big bowlful and put in the fridge to set.