When I was in sixth grade, everyone in the class had to bring in some sort of dish from various countries in the world. I have no idea how I scored France, though I suspect there was some begging involved. As a former French teacher, my mom had an arsenal of French recipes, and this was the one we chose. When I brought the mousse into school that day, I felt very worldly, and very grown-up.
I still love to make this mousse for special occasions, or anytime I want something that sounds a little fancy. This recipe is a slight variation from my mom’s. What can I say? It’s a lot of fun to experiment with adding layers of flavor via various liqueurs, espresso powder, or even a dash of an extract.
Chocolate Mousse with Orange-Vanilla Whipped Cream
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
5 eggs, separated (at room temperature)*
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon espresso powder
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup whipping cream
1 cup whipping cream
¼ teaspoon orange extract
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar
Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. With whisk attachment, whip until eggs reach soft peaks. Add ¾ c sugar and continue to whip until stiff. Set aside. If you only have one mixing bowl for your stand mixer, transfer whites to a separate bowl and set aside.
Combine yolks and salt, beat until yolks are lemon-yellow in color and fall back on themselves in a ribbon. Add ¼ c sugar and espresso powder, beat to combine. Add lemon juice, Grand Marnier, vanilla, 1/3 c whipping cream, and cooled chocolate. Mix to combine (mixture will be thick).
In a separate bowl, beat 1 1/3 c whipping cream until stiff.
Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture. Stir vigorously with a spatula until combined. Add half of the remaining whites and fold gently until combined. Add the remaining whites and continue to fold. Add the whipped cream in three batches, fold to combine.
*If using raw eggs makes you nervous, you can certainly use pasteurized eggs.