Chocolate mousse

Chocolate mousse has become a bit like avocado vinaigrette. Once upon a time you could bet that a hollowed-out avocado doused with a dressing of a little vinegar, a very good olive oil, and a handful of chives would take us through the first course of a flash dinner party, and the chocolate air would be a finale of triumph. Then, heavens above, we would discover that Mrs Kerphoops was serving chocolate mousse, and that it was no longer appearing on restaurant menus, and how could we offer it again?

The first chocolate mousse all of us took would have been as firm as an old time jelly. Rubbery even. Probably at a pub, probably in a cocktail glass (we thought they were champagne glasses in those days). So much so that I have been in many arguments about the firmness, or lack of it, of a true chocolate mousse. It should be as light as a feather in the mouth, filled with bubbles, and inclined to wobble if you turn it on its edge. The other (pub) mousse is more like a chocolate Bavarian cream — a mousse, with gelatine and cream added.

What is beyond argument is the fact that chocolate mousse is one of the great desserts, never to be underestimated, always well received. Just because it’s old, it doesn’t mean it should be discarded.

Oh, one other thing. If you have a cholesterol problem, or think you have or might have, or even could have, forget it.

150g good-quality chocolate, broken into chunks — The best readily available for this are those marketed as ‘dark’ chocolate.

¼ cup strong coffee

4 egg yolks

50g brown sugar for the egg yolks

6 egg whites

20g caster sugar for the egg whites

100ml cream

1 teaspoon freshly ground coffee for decoration, texture


Melt the chocolate very gently with the coffee. This can be done over steam, or, watched closely, in the microwave. The chocolate should finish up fluid, but not hot. Leave it aside to cool a little.


Whisk the egg yolks with the brown sugar over steam, until they have lightened, and tripled in volume. Whisk in the melted chocolate-coffee mix and keep the dish in a warm place.


Whisk the egg whites in a scrupulously clean bowl, until they stiffen, adding the caster sugar on the way.


Whip the cream until it has tripled in volume.


Add the cream to the chocolate-coffee-egg yolk-sugar mix, folding it through so as to maintain its volume. Add a third of the whites similarly and gently fold in the rest. Keep folding the mix into itself until it is homogenous. You do not wish to have white streaks through the chocolate mix.


Put the mix in the fridge, covered, and leave overnight. It will be as light as a feather, a chocolate snowflake.


Sprinkle the freshly ground coffee over the top. You don’t need much, just enough to enter every mouthful. To lighten the eating load, serve with/over some very cold stewed fruit.

This mousse is quite a deal lighter, and less firm, than the mousse which results from the more usual method of adding raw yolks to the melted chocolate. Please yourself whether you prefer to cook the egg yolks. Try not to eat too much.

WINE: I would have to go back to a Rutherglen tokay or muscat. They have the intensity and balance to match chocolate.