French Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

Bittersweet French Chocolate Mousse

05 Apr French Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

It’s official. We are the neighbourhood hillbillies.

The stove, doormat, counter top, sink and fake plant have been in the back patio for two weeks — or a fortnight as the British would say. Doesn’t “Our unwanted kitchen items have been sitting about for a fortnight,” sound more civilized than “we dumped our junk the backyard for a couple of weeks”?

Maybe the plaster dust is affecting my brain, but the word “fortnight” conjures images of summer vacations with days spent wandering the beach and nights spent at swishy cocktail parties — not used appliances and bits of furniture.

To counteract the junk-laden karma of our reno, I made a very decadent dessert for Easter. Regan Daley’s  In the Sweet Kitchen arrived just in time for the long weekend and I took it as a sign. Since I often browse cookbooks back to front, one of the first recipes I came upon (page 548) was for chocolate mousse. Real chocolate mousse. With hand-whisked egg whites,  top-end chocolate and a vanilla bean.

Does this decadent dessert settle the score?


To be on the safe side, I made a straight chocolate version with Creme de Cacao, and an orange variation. Both were incredibly smooth, light and rich. I’m now itching to try hazelnut and raspberry. That should keep things in check for another fortnight — or two.

Did you indulge over the Easter weekend? If so, what form did your decadence take?

Bittersweet French Chocolate Mousse -

French Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 6 to 8
This classic chocolate mousse is light yet rich. Although this recipe provides a chocolate-orange variation, the possibilities go beyond that. Think raspberry, ginger, cherry or any other chocolate-friendly fruit.
  • 8 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in ¼ cup warm water
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • seeds of ½ vanilla bean, hull reserved for another use (like
  • vanilla sugar)
  • ¼ cup coffee- or chocolate-flavoured liqueur, such as Kahula,or Creme de Cacao or substitute Cognac, Armagnac or another spirit
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream, to serve
  • Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish, optional
  1. Place about 1 or 2 inches of water in a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Combine the chocolate and espresso in a stainless steel or glass bowl and set the bowl over the mouth to the pot. Reduce the heat so the water under the bowl is just barely simmering, and melt, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is about ¾ smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let the residual heat in the mixture finish the melting. Set the mixture aside to cool.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk yolks together to break them up, then blend in the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in the vanilla seeds and liqueur.
  3. In a clean bowl with a clean, grease-free balloon whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry and flaky. Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in three stages, working quickly but using as few strokes as possible. Spoon the mixture into individual dessert glasses or bowls and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cover the dishes with plastic wrap and return them to the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Serve the mousse cool, garnished with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a few chocolate-covered espresso beans, if desired.
  1. Add 2 teaspoons very finely grated orange zest to the egg yolks before adding the chocolate mixture. Use an orange-flavoured liqueur, such as Curacao or Grand Marnier in place of the coffee or chocolate liqueur. Garnish the mousse with lightly sweetened whipped cream and finely chopped candied orange peel.
Excerpt with permission from In the Sweet Kitchen: The Definitive Baker's Companion by Regan Daley. Published by Random House Canada, 2010.

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  • Katerina
    Posted at 13:40h, 05 April Reply

    The word “fortnight” makes me think of British boarding school books I used to read as a kid.

    As a hillbilly you would fit right into my neighborhood. You could furnish an entire kitchen (and several garages worth of cars) just by walking several houses down.
    .-= Katerina´s last blog ..Smoked Cheddar, Chorizo and Green Onion Macaroni and Cheese =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:34h, 07 April Reply

      @Katerina, British boarding schools? I forgot about that. You’re right! Still, a boys’ school would be more civilized than my back yard at the moment.

      Don’t want to compete with your neighbours so I’ll clean up soon. I’m sure my neighbours are wondering a) what we’re doing and b) how much longer it will go on?

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 15:25h, 05 April Reply

    A decadent dessert such as this heals all, Charmian! Love the sound of the orange variation, though I’d happily take mine straight up and pure chocolatey too!

    I didn’t necessarily overindulge yesterday… but I still don’t really want to cook or eat again. Too much rich food in one day. I’m thinking its a “salad for dinner” night tonight for sure.

    Oh dear, your old sink and stove look so forlorn! It will all be worth it in the end. Which is when by the way?! LOL
    .-= The Diva on a Diet´s last blog ..Happy Spring! =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:36h, 07 April Reply

      @The Diva on a Diet, of course, I thought of a ginger version soon after finishing. Can you imagine this with Domain de Canton and crystalized ginger bits on top of the whipped cream? Ohhhhh.

      Not sure when we’ll be done. At least 2 weeks before I can move back into the kitchen and we aren’t sure when the counter tops will arrive. So, in the meantime, I’ll keep you regaled with the bathroom upgrades. Yup. We’re insane!

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 19:07h, 05 April Reply

    I won’t even tell you about the drama over our backyard renovation. Suffice it to say fence companies can be bullies. Don’t get a fence in your kitchen.

    We did indulge this weekend, though not for Easter, for my son Alex’s 9th birthday. I made David Lebovitz’s recipe for Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes and served them as cupcakes drizzled with ganache, then let the kids go to town with all the sprinkles I had in the house, which was a lot. The neighbors should be glad I didn’t dump the leftover sprinkles in the front yard. It would have looked like a rainbow threw up.
    .-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Accessories =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:39h, 07 April Reply

      @Cheryl, Right. No fences in kitchen. Good advice. As always.

      Never seen a rainbow vomit, but I know what you’re saying. Hope Alex had a great birthday despite the fence and excess of colourful, sugary sprinkles.

  • sian-girlgetstrong
    Posted at 22:18h, 05 April Reply

    yummy! you are killing me with the tempation! the sad thing is that I think I have all these ingreds. on hand. Go figure!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:40h, 07 April Reply

      @sian-girlgetstrong, You say that as if it was a bad thing! The recipe was easy and decadent, so if you have the time, give it a try. Just make the servings smaller so there’s no (or at least less) guilt.

  • Phil
    Posted at 10:58h, 06 April Reply

    How did I indulge over Easter weekend? Do you know those Laura Secord chocolate eggs, with the white and yellow “yolk” cream inside? I used those to make omelettes.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 10:27h, 09 April Reply

    Mmm, classic mousse. We did indulge ourselves. I amde an angel food cake that I took out of the oven just a bit too early. Too bad, because it looked fantastic! I salvaged things with a meyer lemon curd.

    You are handling things well from my point of view. It’s only been a month. Doesn’t that average ktichen reno take 4?
    .-= Cheryl Arkison´s last blog ..Things That Make Me Tired and Happy =-.

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 09:48h, 10 April Reply

    Reagan’s recipes are very good. Is this a reissue or her book or a new edition with new recipes?

  • Acid Jazz CD
    Posted at 01:43h, 15 May Reply

    Very interesting to read 😛 :N

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