Don't be so quick to turn up your nose at this French 101 dessert cliché. I know you probably made Mousse au Chocolat in Middle School French Club or if your mother, like mine, signed you up to take a children's French cooking class with the neighbor lady who spent a year in France... you probably made it there too. Or perhaps you ate it at the first restaurant on the first night of your first visit to Paris (and were surprised when they brought out a big communal bowl from which to serve yourself.) There is good reason why this dessert is always the introduction to French food... it is just that good!
I don't make this rich and decadent dessert too often but when I do I fall in love with it all over again. The Grand Marnier gives it a subtle sunny lift of orange. Celebrate a Thursday night, like we did, with this creamy and delightful French cliché... c'est magnifique!
Mousse au Chocolat
(adapted from Ina Garten's recipe in Barefoot in Paris)
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 eggs at room temperature, separated
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
In a pan over low heat, combine the two chocolates, Grand Marnier, 1/4 cup water and the vanilla. Watch carefully and stir while melting chocolate. Let cool a little. Stir in the butter until combined.
In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat on high speed the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar for 3 minutes until thick and pale yellow. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the chocolate mixture. Transfer to a large bowl.
In a CLEAN bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat 1 cup of the egg whites, pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until firm but not dry.
Whisk half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and then carefully fold in the rest with a rubber spatula.
Whip the cream and remaining tablespoon of sugar until firm in the same bowl with the whisk attachment (no need to clean it off first.) Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Spoon into individual dishes or one 8-cup serving bowl. Cover and chill. Serve with orange zest and some whipped cream.
Click here for printable recipe.
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