Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse (Mousse au Chocolat Amer)

        From the blog For Love of the Table

5 oz. bittersweet (60 to 64%) chocolate, chopped

2 T. butter, cut into pieces

2 T. espresso or hot water

1/4 c. heavy whipping cream, chilled

4 large eggs (best quality farm fresh or pasteurized—see notes), separated

4 T. vanilla sugar, divided (see notes)


Place the chocolate, butter and espresso in a large heat proof bowl and set the bowl over barely simmering water.  Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are mostly melted.  Remove from heat, continuing to stir occasionally until completely smooth.  Let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature.


While the chocolate cools, place the cream in a small bowl and whip until softly mounding.  Chill until ready to finish the mousse.


In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks with a tablespoon of the sugar until thick and lightened in color (the mixture should be pale yellow).  Whisk this mixture into the tepid chocolate.


Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and set aside while you whip the whites. 


Whip the whites in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or by hand with a wire whisk) until they begin to hold a shape.  Sprinkle in the remaining sugar and continue to whisk/whip until the whites form soft peaks.  Whisk a third of the whites into the chocolate mixture.   Gently fold the remaining whites into the lightened chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. 


Spoon or pipe the mousse into a one quart serving bowl or individual dessert dishes.  Refrigerate for at least an hour…four or more hours is optimal (the mousse may be safely stored for 24 hours)…before serving.  Garnish with shaved chocolate.  Serves 6 to 8. 



  • If you don’t have vanilla sugar, plain granulated will be fine.  Add a half teaspoon of vanilla to the yolks.  You can make your own vanilla sugar.  Whenever you use a vanilla bean, rinse it well and then allow it to dry (it will become hard and crunchy).  Place the dried vanilla pod(s) in the food processor with some sugar and cover the machine with a damp towel.  Process until the bean is finely ground.  Let the sugar “dust” settle for a moment before removing the towel and the lid.  You will have superfine vanilla sugar when done.  Sift the finished vanilla sugar and discard any large bits of vanilla pod remaining in the sifter.  I have never measured the sugar when I do this…but I probably use about a quarter to a third cup of sugar for each used vanilla bean.
  • If you are serving this to someone very young, very old, pregnant or immune compromised, you may use pasteurized eggs.  I have made the recipe with both farm fresh and pasteurized eggs and I vastly prefer the mousse with farm fresh.  Pasteurized eggs are difficult to separate without breaking the yolks and because the pasteurization is accomplished by raising the eggs to a safe temperature, they have been lightly cooked. This makes them resistant to whipping.  The yolks will eventually become “thick and lightened in color” and the whites will eventually “form soft peaks”—of a sort—but neither will achieve the loft and shape of fresh eggs.  And be      warned…it takes a long time to get them to whip (much longer than fresh eggs)…you will definitely need an electric mixer if you use pasteurized eggs.
  • If you only have one set of beaters or one whisk attachment for your mixer, make sure that you wash it and dry it thoroughly between each step.  The whites in particular will not whip if there is any fat from the cream or eggs that gets into the bowl with the whites. 

    (Recipe adapted from Simply French by Patricia Wells)