This entire week, in honor of Valentine's Day, we put together a shelf of our favorite books on chocolate, with one Cook the Book recipe a day adapted from each volume. To end the week, and to complete our "Chocolate Lover's Library," we're adding Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, by Serious Eats' baking contributor Dorie Greenspan. We can't think of a better duo to work on a book together. Here, you get the sophisticated chocolate desserts of Hermé written and tested for home kitchens by Dorie, so you know these recipes will work for you, and you know you'll have Dorie's expert advice guiding you through them.
The recipe we've adapted here is for simple chocolate mousse, made super-light by the addition of whipped egg whites and by using milk instead of the more common heavy cream. Hermé sees this mousse as a base recipe to which all kinds of flavors and textures can be added, from caramelized Rice Krispies to cardamom.
- 6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) whole milk
- 1 large egg yolk
- 4 large egg whites
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over—not touching—simmering water or in the microwave oven. If necessary, transfer the chocolate to a bowl that is large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Keep the chocolate on the counter until needed. The chocolate should still feel warm to the touch when you’re ready to use it.
Bring the milk to the boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Using a small whisk, gently blend the milk into the chocolate. Add the egg yolk and whisk it into the chocolate, again working gently; stop when the yolk is incorporated.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed just until they hold soft peaks. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat the whites until they are firm but still glossy. Scoop one-third of the whites out of the bowl onto the chocolate mixture. Working with a whisk, beat the whites into the chocolate to lighten the mixture. Now, with either the whisk or a large flexible rubber spatula, delicately but thoroughly fold the rest of the beaten whites into the chocolate.
Turn the mousse into a large serving bowl—glass is very nice for this dessert—or into individual coupes or cups, and refrigerate for 1 hour to set.
Keeping: Although the texture of the mousse will be lighter if you serve it shortly after chilling it, it can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days – after which time it will be just as delicious, if a little denser.