This is hands down my go to dessert- always with unsweetened whipped cream and if I’m lucky, fresh berries or a bit of candied orange rind in the winter months.
Some chocolate mousse recipes will have you fold whipped cream into the mousse, but I like it pure- just eggs, chocolate, butter and salt, with the whipped cream on top. The contrast between the deeply chocolatey mousse and the pure, unsweetened whipped cream is heaven.
If you can get your hands on raw, fresh cream, use it here. Raw cream has a delicate sweetness that dissipates once pasteurized.
-6 oz good quality dark chocolate bar (I typically use Ghirardelli 70% bars)
-4 eggs, whites and yolks separated (use fresh, good quality eggs since you’re consuming them raw)
-2 tablespoons good butter (a European or cultured butter is lovely here)
-pinch sea salt
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-heavy cream, to serve
In a medium heatproof bowl, break or chop chocolate bar into pieces, then place bowl over a pot with an inch or so of water in the bottom of the pot. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is suspended above the water, as you don’t want the bowl to touch the water.
Over medium heat, cook the chocolate in the double boiler until mostly melted, stirring occasionally, and remove from heat while a few small pieces of unmelted chocolate remain. They will continue to melt off the heat. Add butter to chocolate and stir until melted and combined. Set aside to cool a bit while you prepare the egg whites.
In another bowl, whisk egg whites together by hand with a whisk or with a mixer until soft peaks form. Do not overmix. You're looking for the egg whites to have enough shape to hold a soft peak that "slumps" a bit when you press and lift up the underside of a spoon to the whites, but that's it.
Once the chocolate has cooled to a temperature you can touch, whisk in egg yolks, vanilla extract and a tiny pinch of salt. Then, add about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and stir rather vigorously until smooth- don’t worry about being gentle with the whites at this stage, you’re simply mixing them in to lighten and aerate the chocolate mixture.
Finally, gently fold the remaining 2/3 egg whites into the chocolate mixture, taking care this time to gently fold the whites into the chocolate so the whites don’t deflate. Stop folding once the large streaks of egg whites are no longer visible, and the whites and chocolate are thoroughly combined.
Pour mousse into small ramekins or cups of your choice- this is rich and satisfying, so small portions are best- and chill for at least an hour before serving.
Top with mounds of freshly whipped unsweetened whipped cream, and fresh berries if you have them!