If you've already started your post-holiday detox, you may want to set this aside for another special occasion (or just go for it - dark chocolate is good for you, right?)
Valentine's Day will be here before you know it, and any chocolate lover would be happy to dig into this. If you've got a gluten intolerant friend coming for dessert, as I did recently, this also would be most welcome. And most importantly, it's just plain delicious without being too heavy, like many chocolate mousse recipes, since this one contains no egg yolks, just the whites (well, and some heavy cream too).
It comes from a cookbook of recipes gathered together by the delightful tea shop and café called Alice's Tea Cup, with several locations in New York City.
You can serve it in individual compotes or parfait glasses, as above, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and some chocolate shavings, or in one large bowl with crunchy meringue cookies on top, as in the photo below.
Whichever way you serve it, though, don't be surprised when it disappears in a flash.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
recipe from Alice's Tea Cup cookbook
(Makes 6 to 8 servings)
9 ounces dark chocolate pistoles or quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 tsps. instant espresso powder, dissolved in 2 T. hot water
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 egg whites (the eggs will not be cooked, so if there's any concern about food safety, please use pasteurized eggs)
1/3 cup sugar
extra whipped cream for topping
- Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in a microwave oven at 1 minute intervals, stirring after each interval so it doesn't burn. (If you don't have a microwave, use a double boiler or place the ingredients in a heat-proof measuring cup or bowl set inside a saucepan filled halfway with water, and bring the water to a simmer over medium heat; stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted.
- While the chocolate is melting, use a mixer to whip the espresso and cream in a large bowl until you have whipped cream, but don't overwhip. Set it aside.
- In a separate bowl, use the mixer (with clean beaters) to whip the egg whites until they start to look white and creamy. Then add the sugar and whip just to combine. Again, do not overship.
- When the chocolate is fully melted, pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add a scoop of the whipped cream and a scoop of the egg whites, and stir them thoroughly into the chocolate. In small alternating batches, fold the remaining whipped cream and egg whites into the chocolate until the mousse is smooth and even.
- Cover and chill for at least an hour to set. Serve from a large bowl, or use individual ramekins or parfait glasses. Cover and chill before serving, then top with a dollop of whipped cream.