Light and bubbly chocolate mousse that is also rich and decadent. This Dairy-free and Paleo recipe is made using just dark chocolate, egg whites and honey.
A sweet mousse is a light and fluffy dessert, made by folding whipped egg whites into a liquid flavouring such as pureed fruit or melted chocolate, and then refrigerating until set. This results in a velvety texture full of tiny air bubbles, delivering an intense chocolate hit without the cloying richness of denser desserts like chocolate tort. The basic recipe contains only eggs, dark chocolate and a small quantity of sugar to temper the bitter cocoa flavour. However, variations proliferate, and the recipe is often adulterated by adding cream for extra lightness, or butter for extra richness. Personally, I find these additions unnecessary, as they serve to dilute rather than to enhance the lovely chocolate flavour.
You need to handle the chocolate carefully when melting, to ensure a velvety smooth consistency. If the temperature is too high then the chocolate will burn and split. If any water gets into the chocolate then it will ‘seize’ into a grainy lump. When chocolate is refined, the moisture content is removed to create what is essentially a dry product. If water is re-introduced to the molten ingredients it creates a paste, gluing the sugar and cocoa powder into clumps. The traditional method for melting chocolate involves breaking the chocolate into a bowl, and setting the bowl over a pan of simmering water. The base of the bowl should not touch the water to prevent scorching, while the diameter of the bowl should be wider than the pan to stop steam from escaping into the chocolate. If the chocolate does seize, then you can revive it by stirring in a teaspoon or so of melted coconut oil, until it becomes smooth and glossy again.
- 160g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
- 5 medium eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon honey (to taste)
- Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and set over a pan of simmering water. Do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water, or any steam to come into contact with the chocolate, as this will cause the chocolate to seize into a grainy lump (so use a bowl that has a wider diameter than the pan). Once completely melted, set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Put the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whisk with an electric whisk for 1-2 minutes, until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- Scrape the melted chocolate into a large mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and honey and mix quickly (if you act too slowly, then the colder ingredients will cause the chocolate to seize, resulting in lumpy mousse). Lighten the mixture by adding one-third of the whisked egg whites, and mixing until fully blended.
- Tip in the rest of the egg whites and gently fold in using a spatula: cut down the centre with the side edge of the spatula; scrape across the bottom of the bowl and up the side, scooping up the mixture as you go so that it is turned over and under; rotate the bowl 90° and repeat until fully blended. Be careful not to overwork the mixture and knock out the air, but make sure the bitter egg white is fully blended.
- Ladle the mousse mixture into 4 cocktail glasses / ramekins with a capacity of at least 200ml. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours until set, or overnight if easier. The mousse will keep well for a couple of days in the refrigerator. For best results, remove from the refrigerator half an hour before serving.