Is there a more classic dessert than the decidedly decadent French mousse au chocolate?
Sadly, with all the strive for innovation and new, quirky recipes, I often feel this old classic is no longer getting the attention it deserves.
Though I am all for new ideas, I also strongly feel the classic mousse au chocolate is a dessert that will never disappoint. And it is just the perfect ending to a special menu like a birthday celebration, Thanksgiving, or just any other occasion.
Mousse au chocolate is even easier made than you might think, and it is the perfect make-ahead recipe. That said, it does require a little bit of attention to the right process.
The classic recipe uses raw eggs and no cream to create the airy, smooth texture of the mousse. However, over time most recipes have added whipped cream to create a fluffier consistence. You will now also find vegan variations if you so prefer.
So here are a couple of thinks you should keep in mind when you want to make that perfect mousse au chocolate at home.
First off, definitely use a good quality chocolate. It just makes such a difference in taste. I typically go for a mix of two-thirds of 70% cocoa dark chocolate and one-third of 50% cocoa chocolate.
Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie and definitely make sure the water never gets to the point where it starts to boil.
Use fresh eggs and in case you keep them in the fridge, take out an hour before using to allow them reach room temperature.
Fold in the cream, never stir! This way, you make sure the mousse stays airy and light.
Mousse au chocolate works perfectly on its own, but it’s unbeatable with a classic vanilla sauce, different fruit sauces or fruit compote.
With pears in season and my well documented love of chocolate and pear pairings, I made this super delicious chocolate mousse with lightly caramelized pears and a white chocolate brandy sauce.
The classic recipe calls for cognac, which I have changed to pot still brandy in the below recipe. The difference here, though, is only due to the destination of the spirit. Because, strictly speaking cognac is still brandy, only that to be called cognac it must be made in the region of Cognac in the southwest of France.
So with Thanksgiving and the holiday season just around the corner, why not treat your family and friends with a classic Mousse au Chocolate?
Recipe: Mousse au Chocolate with Caramelized Pears and White Chocolate Brandy Sauce
For the mousse au chocolate
250 g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
65 g dark chocolate, 50% cocoa
3 egg yolks
2-3 tablespoons brandy
750 ml heavy cream
pinch of salt
For the white chocolate brandy sauce
250 ml heavy cream
100 white chocolate, roughly chopped
35 ml brandy
For the caramelized pears
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into small slices
1 tablespoon butter
3-4 tablespoons sugar
Roughly chop the chocolate and melt over a lightly simmering bain marie.
Over a separate bain marie, beat egg and egg yolks with a pinch of salt until creamy. Take from the heat, add brandy and melted chocolate. Stir until well combined then set aside to let slightly cool.
Beat the cream until lightly stiff (don’t beat too stiff as it won’t fold smoothly into the chocolate mix that way).
Fold cream into the chocolate mix. Transfer to a large bowl or individual bowls and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Add white chocolate and let melt completely. Take from the heat, add the brandy, then set aside and let cool.
For the caramelized pears, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add pears and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Drizzle with sugar and let slightly caramelize.
Set aside until needed.
Serve the mousse topped with white chocolate brandy sauce and pears.
Note: You can serve the pears either cold or still slightly warm.