Decadent yet elegant, a Classic French Chocolate Mousse is a must in your repertoire as a French host(ess), or just to treat yourself. This timeless dessert relies on only a few ingredients – chocolate, eggs, butter and sugar – to create a smooth, airy texture with intense chocolatey taste. It is a great make-ahead dessert to serve in individual cups.
What makes a Classic French Chocolate Mousse?
As per the French tradition, a Chocolate Mousse uses solely raw eggs to build the “mousse” texture – and no cream. A common American adaptation is to add whipped cream in the mixture to give a light and airy consistency. By skipping the whipped cream, a French-style chocolate mousse is denser and thus richer, both in texture and in taste. Withholding the cream allows the chocolate flavor to shine more and creates a more compact, slightly “chewy’ mouthfeel – which is personally what I love in a French-style chocolate mousse.
Tips for a Perfect Chocolate Mousse:
Making a Classic French Chocolate Mousse at home is an easy recipe that requires simple ingredients. However, there are a few tips to know in order to achieve a perfect texture and flavor.
- Gently melt the chocolate over a bain-marie, meaning over barely simmering water in a double boiler. If heated too rapidly, the chocolate risks to separate or break.
- Beat the eggs whites to a stiff peak. Not soft, not firm, but stiff: meaning peaks will stand straight up when the beaters are lifted.
- Use older eggs. For best results in getting stiff egg whites, choose eggs that aren’t too fresh (3 to 4 days), and make sure you take them out of the fridge 1 hour before to let them reach room temperature. When beating older egg whites at room temperature, their proteins will have more elasticity. It will stretch and welcome more air, rather than break if too fresh or cold.
- Use pristine equipment. When beating the egg whites, make sure you are using a bowl and beater that are perfectly clean. Egg whites tend to refuse to whip if they encounter any residual fat or even if there are tiny amounts of egg yolk.
- Use great-quality chocolate. With just a few ingredients in this recipe, the flavor and texture of the mousse relies a lot on the quality of your ingredients, and especially of the chocolate. I recommend splurging a bit for this recipe and buying top-quality chocolate – you won’t regret it. I have used Lindt 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate and Lindt Extra Creamy. The smart combination of dark and milk chocolates creates the perfect amount of creaminess, yet with slightly bitter notes.
- Let the chocolate cool. After melting the chocolate with the butter, allow it to cool at least 10-15 minutes before mixing it into the egg and sugar mixture. It should come to barely warm temperature so its gets incorporated perfectly with the eggs. If too warm, it will “cook” the eggs and form little hard chunks. If too cold, the chocolate could seize up.
- Fold, don’t stir. When folding the egg whites with the chocolate mixture, use a large rubber spatula and be gentle. The important thing is not to stir, but fold. In small additions, carefully place a portion of the egg whites on top of the chocolate mixture and fold it in by using a flipping motion. Stop when the mousse is just uniform – do not over mix.
More recipe notes:
- Important note: because this recipe has raw eggs, I don’t recommend serving it to pregnant women, young children, older people or people with compromised immune systems.
- This Chocolate mousse needs to set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving, so plan accordingly.
- This recipe is for 4 large servings or 6 smaller ones. Note that a Classic French Chocolate Mousse is richer and denser than its American cousin, so you only need a small serving to be satisfied.
- For serving, use individual cups, ramekins, or even stemmed glasses. If you are hosting a dinner, you can also place the whole mousse in a large serving bowl. Bring it to the table and serve it with a large spoon. In this case, it will need to be refrigerated a bit longer to set (at least 5 hours).
- For serving, a French-style chocolate mousse is most often enjoyed just plain– no toppings. But you can of course top each cup with whipped cream and/or a dusting of cocoa or chocolate shavings.
I hope you’ll love this Classic French Chocolate Mousse recipe as much as I do! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.
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- Chocolate Pots de Crème
- Winter Fruit Salad
- Thick Double Chocolate Pudding
- Salted Butter Breton Sables
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7 oz (200g) dark chocolate (70%), chopped
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs, at room temperature (yolks & whites separated)
+ 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ tsp salt
¼ cup (50g) sugar
1/3 cup (80g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For serving (optional): whipped cream and cocoa powder
Make sure you read the tips and notes before you start.
Step 1 - In a medium steel bowl, over a bain-marie, melt the dark chocolate, milk chocolate and butter together, until velvety smooth. Set aside.
Step 2 - In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and the 3 egg yolks for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and foamy, and a ribbon forms when you lift the whisk.
Step 3 - In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the 6 egg whites and salt to a stiff peak.
Step 4 - Pour the melted chocolate and butter in the egg yolk-sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Now with a spatula, fold about a ¼ or less of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten and loosen it. In three separate additions, fold in the rest of the egg whites very gently and stop mixing when just uniform.
Step 5 - Immediately divide the mousse into individual serving cups (4 large or 6 small), cover with plastic film (make sure the film does not touch the mousse) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (ideally 4-5 hours) before serving.
Optional: for serving, top each chocolate mousse cup with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Chocolate Mousse can be stored for up to two days in the fridge, covered with plastic film.
Note: This recipe post is an updated version of a previous recipe post called “The Best French-Style Chocolate Mousse”, posted in 2018 (now removed from the blog). Looking back at this post, I realized that calling it “The Best” was presumptuous and also purely based on my own opinion. I wanted to update the wording, the photos and also improved the recipe by using different techniques and lowering the amount of butter and sugar. The original recipe was translated and adapted from Julie Andrieu’s cookbook La Meilleure Facon de Manger.