Simple Chocolate Mousse
Made with just cream, chocolate and sugar. Use the best quality bittersweet chocolate you can source.
3 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
3/4 cup sugar (superfine is great here, but not necessary)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
Optional: 2 T liqueur (Grand Marnier, Rum, Chambord...)
Whip 3 cups of the heavy cream in mixer until it begins to thicken. Continue to whip while slowly adding sugar. Whip until thick and just begins holding shape. You can always whip it more. On the other side, if you accidentally overdid it, just stir in a few tablespoons of cream. Reserve the whipped cream in the refrigerator.
Add the chocolate to the bowl of a Cuisinart and process until finely ground.
Heat the remaining 1/2 cup of cream in a small saucepan until it begins to simmer. Add liqueur if using. Add to the chocolate in the Cuisinart with the motor running and process until smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate into a medium-large mixing bowl and allow to cool to about room temperature, about 10-15 minutes.
When the bottom of the bowl with the chocolate no longer feels warm, remove the cream from the fridge and observe it. It should look think and very smooth, not rough or overly stiff. If it looks loose, whip it to firm it up. If it's too stiff, add another tablespoon or two of cream to soften it.
Using a large spatula, add about 1/3 of the whipped cream to the chocolate and stir in gently until well combined. Then add the remaining cream and fold in very gently. Make sure to scrape from the bottom of the bowl. Fold until no streaks remain, but try to be efficient and gentle so you don't lose the loft of the cream.
Now...the best way to present Mousse au Chocolate is in individual servings. And the best way to transfer the mousse to a glass is to pipe it in there. You can spoon it in carefully, but it's hard to do and have a clean finish. So select your glasses, fetch a large pastry bag and fill it with as much mousse as you can (it's hard to refill a pastry bag) and fill the glass between 1/2 and 3/4 full. Then cover the glasses with plastic wrap and retire them to the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. You can make the mousse a day ahead, as well, just be sure to wrap it well so it doesn't absorb any fridge aromas.