Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse
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My search for a perfect chocolate mousse, led me to Julia Child’s recipe on David Lebovitz. In addition to containing booze and coffee, Julia’s recipe calls for a technique that resembles parfait-making but that is simpler. Yolks and sugar get whisked until thick, first in a double boiler then over an ice bath. Beaten egg whites get folded in at the end.
Lebovitz describes Julia’s mousse as having “a perfect, slightly-gummy texture, backed up by a wallop of pure dark chocolate flavor.” This “gumminess” or chew is what I love about parfait and what I love about Julia’s chocolate mousse — it doesn’t just taste like chocolate-flavored whipped cream. It has body with a lightness coming exclusively from beaten egg whites.
I adjusted the recipe slightly by using less sugar than called for because I was using a sweeter chocolate, and I’ve made notes in the recipe. Chocolate mousse is a great make-ahead recipe if you plan on spending Valentine’s Day at home, and, I mean, as much as I love love love those vanilla bean pots de crèmes, Valentine’s Day calls for chocolate, right?
Anyway, what are your plans for Valentine’s Day? What are your essentials for a romantic dinner at home? For us it’s good bread, stinky cheese, stinky pickles (details below), some cured meats, some sort of tinned fish, a simple salad and three little cubs pawing at our feet.
If all goes well this year, we’ll get the cubs to bed early and stay awake to watch the first episode of the new season of Foyle’s War! Did you hear?! Yes, it’s true, two of three new episodes have been released.
Have a wonderful Friday/weekend, Everyone.
PS: More Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas here.
Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse
- Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings
Adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking via David Lebovitz
Notes: I use Guittard Chocolate, 64% cacao. Lebovitz used Green and Black, 72% cacao. I mention this because I cut the sugar to ½ cup due to the extra sugar in the chocolate. If you are using a darker chocolate, you might want to use ⅔ cup sugar, which is what the original recipe calls for.
What I love about this recipe is that there isn’t any whipped cream. One recipe I tried this week tasted too much like chocolate-flavored whipped cream. This one has body with a nice lightness thanks to the whipped egg whites. The key to making this recipe successfully is getting those egg yolks to that pale yellow ribbon stage — see DL’s photo for guidance. If you don’t get that consistency in the yolks, the finished mousse will not have that nice chew.
- 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (see notes above)
- 6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
- 4 large eggs, separated
- ½ cup (116g) to ⅔ cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar (see notes above)
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) water
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- dark chocolate for shaving over top, optional
- Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.
- Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
- In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the ½ to ⅔ cup of sugar (see notes), rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer. Note: Be sure this mixture is thick before removing bowl from heat. )
- Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo in DL’s post. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.
- Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.
- Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.
- Use a microplane grater or peeler to shave chocolate overtop before serving (optional).
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: chocolate, mousse, Julia Child
These days, nothing is more fun or relaxing or special feeling for me than arranging a few cheeses and meats on a platter, making a simple, wintry salad and serving it with homemade bread. My latest discovery, which make a nice addition to any charcuterie platter, are pickled watermelon radishes, which I wrote about over on Food52 last week. Warning: They couldn’t be more delicious but they also are about the stinkiest pickle/food I have ever tasted. Give them some time to breathe before serving, or as one commenter suggested, open the jar outside.
This tinned octopus is kind of a splurge, but it’s delicious, and when you’re staying in for Valentine’s Day, you’re saving a boodle anyway:
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26 Comments on “Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse”
I love a parfait. I think they show the flavours of summer fruits better than a custard-based ice cream.
I am also totally in favour of a stinky Valentine’s dinner!
Haha, so happy to hear I’m in good company! 🙂
This looks marvelous and I absolutely love the “stinky” meal! I got really excited when I saw the pulpo on the board! I’m going to look for that next time I’m at a Whole Foods! What a beautiful meal and I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
thank you, Tracey! The pulpo is really good, especially for a canned fish. With a little lemon and pepper — yum! We had a very low-key Valentine’s Day. Hope you had a relaxing long weekend! xo
I settled on a chocolate mousse for tomorrow, but the recipe my beloved insists that I use calls for whipped cream… oh, well – I will go with his wish, since it’s V-day, right?
but I’m saving your recipe for a next time…
as to radishes – I made pickled radishes once and never again, the smell stayed in my memory for years! Really hard to “stomach” it… it tastes great, though.. like a ripe Camembert, you need to get over the smell to enjoy it
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Just what I needed! Hubs LOVES some chocolate mousse and this looks divine.
Yay! I hope it turned out well, Kate!
Made these last night. SO perfect. The texture, the flavor. Didn’t need anything to accompany it. Well, except for a glass of wine. 😉
Yay! Makes me so happy Kate!
This looks like the most perfect Valentine’s Day dessert and meal, you are once again saving my marriage. Plus, my mouth is watering over the idea of pulpo, I will definitely be buying some ASAP. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day Ali, kiss those cubbies for me!
You too KatyKat!! Miss and love you. I hope you find some pulp ASAP. xoxo
Wow, stunning photos and that parfait looks amazing!!
Do I love chocolate pudding or what! And mousse is a very very special pudding. So fluffy and creamy and chocolatey.
Thank you, Carol 🙂
“A boodle”, such a great expression 🙂 Ok I have never seen canned octopus before! What does it taste like? We are sardine fans in this house, for sure — is it anything similar? Yum, your Valentine’s Day menu looks sublime! I read about your watermelon-radish pickles, and though they may be stinky, I’m sure they’re so delicious. And that color!
I wish I would have had your energy for cooking something special. I meant to. But, I feel like work takes everything I’ve got lately and cooking becomes more of a “need to eat NOW” type of thing, which just isn’t my favorite way to cook at all 🙁 I made waffles for my husband and my brother Saturday morning, and then they bought me some beers…… so, I feel pretty good about the 14th overall, I suppose 😉
Sophie, we did nothing special on Vday! Seriously, I arranged cheese on a platter, opened up a can of octopus, and called dinner done. Then I feel asleep at 9. It was really romantic 🙂
How cute of you to make waffles and how cute of your men to bring you beer. Sounds like a fair trade to me 🙂 That particular brand of canned octopus is really good! Meaty, briny, delicious. I can’t speak for other brands, but I love that one — all it needs is a pinch more salt and a squeeze of lemon.
The radish pickles are so stinky! But I love them. xo
I was inspired by your post to make this mousse for Valentine’s Day. My only substitution was 1/4 cup + 1 tblsp Khalua in place of the coffee + rum. But it seems the whipped egg whites didn’t combine with the other ingredients when I folded Them in. We were disappointed to find it rather gritty and liquid even after letting it set for 5 hours. Do you have any idea what went wrong or any tips to salvage a future batch?
Hi Kathy! So sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Such a bummer to hear this! I would have thought that the quantity of alcohol you used would work just fine given that you substituted it for the coffee and rum — I actually wanted to make this again with more booze but now I’m worried that maybe the quantity of alcohol makes a difference. I really don’t know what to say/how to advise?! Questions: Did your egg yolk mixture thicken to the ribbon stage? See the photo on DL’s site for guidance: https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2248/2527537813_daf96aed26_o.jpg The only other thing I’m worried about is that you may have possibly overbeaten the whites — they should be thick and shiny, but not super stiff. I wish I could help you more! Let me know the answers to these two questions, and I’ll keep brainstorming.
Thanks so much for your reply and my apologies for my delayed response, as well! I think that I may have overbeaten the egg whites, now that you describe how they ought to look. I’ll have to give it another try sometime. Congratulations on your new arrival 🙂
This was so good! Thank you for testing and sharing 🙂 I made a half-recipe as a surprise dessert for Valentine’s and my boyfriend was thrilled. (Wish I had just planned an easy cheese/bread spread for dinner. Instead we spent quite a bit of time cooking after a toasty afternoon on the beach – my menu was locally made burrata and bread to start, then risotto, romanesco broccoli and scallops, for the first time! Too stressful.) Hope you’re all staying warm this week!
Hello! As always, the food, photography and writing in this entry is perfect, and elicits a pool of drool…I’m looking forward to making the mousse on a special occasion! I wanted to let you know that I’ve been a huge fan of your beautiful and inspiring blog for a while, now. I just started my very own, and can only hope to one day curate such a beautiful project!
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As I was searching for the best chcocolate mousse recipe I came across your blog. I am debating whether I should try the Bouchon chocolate mousse recipe or the Julia Child recipe you posted. In your opinion, which mousse was best?
So sorry for the delay here!! Stephanie, I have to be honest, it has been so long since I have made either, but I suspect I preferred the Julia Child recipe.
Question – if I leave out the rum will I be ok? I don’t drink so don’t have any on hand and don’t really want to buy!
It will be fine!