A classic recipe for a French chocolate mousse. Light as air, rich and decadent, this is a dessert to serve when you're aiming to impress, or just to treat yourself. Recipe adapted by David Lebovits, taken from the Art of French Cooking, (Knopf) Julia Child.
ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (170g)
ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (170g)
cup dark-brewed coffee (60ml)
large eggs, separated
cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (170g)
tablespoons dark rum (30ml)
tablespoon water (15ml)
Pinch of salt
teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a hand held electric mixer.) Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don't overdo it or the mousse will lose volume. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm. Storage: The mousse au chocolat can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.