I have developed a Chambord Chocolate Mousse recipe that is a variation of Julia Child’s famous Chocolate Mousse. “Why address this almost perfect recipe?”, you might ask. First, I think substituting the Chambord for the orange liqueur she calls for is a plus. I believe the combination of chocolate and raspberry is preferred over the combination of orange and chocolate. Second, I am applying the principle of analytics of adding greater specificity. In this case, it is rather straightforward. The recipe as printed by Julia calls for semi-sweet baking chocolate. I found over time using that recipe that my results varied. The variations in chocolate sold under the term “semi-sweet” could leave my mousse sweeter than desired. I address this by adjusting added sugar levels based on the listed cocoa percentage in the chocolate.
Notes on Ingredients
Chocolate and Sugar Balance
There are several good chocolates available today, and most list the percent of cocoa on the package. These percentages for semi-sweet to bittersweet are around 70% to 90% cocoa, with the remaining ingredients being milk solids and sugar. It is this sugar we need to be concerned about. This can vary enough to noticeably change the sweetness of the final product. The following discussion and table explain how to use this information. Find the appropriate percentage of cocoa, or if not available, the listed sugar per serving, and adjust as needed. If the percentage of sugar is not exactly the same as on the table then use the closest estimate. The adjustments are given based on grams or if measuring volume then it is a deviation of tablespoons from ⅔ cup of sugar.
My Chambord Chocolate Mousse recipe calls for 6 ounces (170g) of 78% cocoa chocolate and that is my preferred. But, of course, what is available on hand or in the store varies. At 78% cocoa, the chocolate should contain about 28g of sugar. Alternatively, if you used 70% chocolate, it would contain 51g of sugar. At approximately 12.5 grams of sugar per tablespoon that is 2 tablespoons more of sugar. Using the same quantity of 90% cocoa chocolate contains 17g of sugar — approximately 1 tablespoon less of sugar. This is more easily seen in table form.
|Cocoa||Total Sugar |
|Required Sugar |
|70%||9g||51g||⅔ cup minus 2 tbsp||112g|
|90%||3g||17g||⅔ cup plus 1 tbsp||146g|
I love the taste of the Chambord. From the beautiful Loire Valley, this liquor primary has the taste of raspberries with a few additional flavor notes. I have greatly reduced the amount of liqueur that Julia calls for — two tablespoons is all you need giving a nice essence and nose.
Chocolate Mousse contains lightly cooked yolks and egg whites. Therefore, please be aware of the issues related to that, consider who you plan to serve it to, and use the best eggs available. Use pasteurized eggs, if needed.
Julia recommends a Crème Anglaise with the mousse spooned on top. Or it can be served as single servings topped with whipped cream and raspberries. It is also nice by itself.
Notes on Technique
While Chocolate Mouse may appear intimidating, it is easily accomplished if you consider three main issues.
Cooking the Yolks
The recipe starts with low warming of the yolks over a low simmer of water. This is the most delicate part of the process. The yolks are to be mixed with the sugar and Chambord and warmed for 3 to 4 minutes. It is very important to continue to whisk while doing this and not allow the yolks to coagulate. Furthermore, as soon as it is warmed, the bowl should be removed from the simmering water and placed over a bowl of ice water to cool rapidly and stop the cooking.
The last steps involve whisking the egg whites into peaks and folding them into the chocolate mixture. Whisking is best accomplished with an immersion blender. You will find many uses for this tool including the cream topping if you decide to serve that way. If you do not have an immersion blender, a regular blender will do, or whisk by hand to give you a full appreciation of technique.
This will require a bit of cleaning
This recipe will require a bit of cleaning — just get over it. It is worth it. This is true even if you do not get melted chocolate on anything. As shown in the accompanying photos, it will require at a minimum four bowls (one for the yolks, one for the whites, one for the chocolate, and one for the ice water), likely two whisks and two or three spatulas.
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup (135g) sugar (See note about adjusting sugar, if needed)
- 2 tablespoons Chambord (or other raspberry liquor)
- 6 ounces (170g) dark chocolate (78-80% cocao)
- 1/4 cup strong coffee, scant
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small chunks.
- Start a pan of water to heat to just below a simmer.
- Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a bowl large enough to eventually hold all ingredients, but will also fit on the pan of simmering water. A metal pan heats best.
- Break up the chocolate into small chunks. Place into a bowl that will fit over the simmering water and add in coffee. Set aside.
- Prepare a bowl of ice water large enough to set the yolk mixture bowl on. This will be used to chill the yolks after heating.
- Mix the 135g (or adjusted amount) of sugar into the egg yolks. Mix in the Chambord. Place the mixture over the almost simmering water. Constantly whisk the mixture while heating for 3 to 4 minutes. The yolks should eventually be warm to the touch but be careful not to allow the yolks to cook.
- Remove the yolk mixture and place over a bowl of ice-chilled water. Continue to whisk for 3 or 4 minutes until cooled. Leave the mixture on top of the bowl.
- Place the chocolate and coffee mixture on the not quite simmering water and stir until chocolate has melted. Add the butter a bit at a time stirring into melted and the mixture is creamy.
- Mix the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks are formed.
- Fold a fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate, yolk mixture. Fold slowly. Then fold about half of the remaining whites into the mixture and finally the last of the whites into the mixture. Fold slowly so as to not reduce the volume.
- With the help of a spatula or spoon pour the mousse into a serving bowl(s). You have two options here. Option 1: You may put it all into one bowl. This may later be scooped unto a Crème Anglais with an impressive presentation. Option 2: It can be poured into individual serving bowls. (You will find that pouring the mousse with the help of the spatula is less messy than trying to ladle into serving bowls. This is especially true if the bowls are not very wide.)
- The mousse should be chilled for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld and the texture to firm. (It is also just perfect to make and set covered overnight.) It may be served with the creme anglais as discussed above or with a bit of sweetened whipped cream topped with raspberries, or it can be perfect by itself.
The recipe calls for 78% cocoa chocolate and 135g (2/3 cup) of sugar. Adjust the sugar if using lighter or darker chocolate. If using 70% cocoa chocolate use 112g (2/3 cup minus 2 tablespoons) of sugar. If using 90% cocoa chocolate use 146g of sugar (2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) or sugar.
If the chocolate percentage is not exact, adjust to the closest.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 248Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 34mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 3g
Calculated Nutrition is estimated.