Beverages and Desserts

Classic French Chocolate Mousse

Classic French chocolate mousse has just two ingredients: eggs and chocolate. Many American recipes include cream, and, although chocolate mousse made with cream is still pretty good, I prefer the simpler, more authentic version.

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SKIP TO RECIPE

Simple classic French chocolate mousse, you say?

Packaging of one of the chocolate bars my husband brought from Europe so that I could make him classic French chocolate mousse. Package states: Tablette d'Or, Chocolat Noir Patissier

When my husband brought back chocolate bars from France, I was impressed with their heft. Turns out that, like Americans have baking chocolate, the French have “mousse” chocolate. The bars are thick and rich, and the packaging comes with step-by-step instructions. I only had to open up Google Translate once or twice, and voilá: dessert elegance!

I’ve gone ahead and translated the instructions for this classic French chocolate mousse and added detail for your decadent pleasure. You can also check out the video at the bottom of this recipe or on YouTube. Aaaaaaand, I know I implied that this recipe is simple in my opening paragraph of this post, but I was referring to the ingredients. Getting mousse to its “trademark” fluffiness can be tricky business. Hopefully, my instructions will help.

Important: This recipe uses raw eggs

Egg separator with yolk held over a bowl that is catching the whites of the egg. Five whole eggs are laid out next to the bowl.

First off, make sure the eggs are room temperature. In Europe and in most other countries, eggs are not usually refrigerated, so getting hold of room temperature eggs is not an issue. However, in the United States, care should be taken—don’t leave the eggs out of the fridge for more than two hours because the change in temperature will cause bacteria to grow. You could also try some quick egg-warming methods. I made this recipe with farm-fresh eggs once—literally, they had just come from my brother’s farm—that had never been refrigerated, and the texture came out perfectly.

SKIP TO RECIPE

Use the chocolate you would eat anyway

For the chocolate, shop from the candy aisle, not the baking aisle. The key is to buy chocolate you would eat on its own because that’s what this classic French chocolate mousse will taste like—only fluffier and richer and, oh, so decadent! For the video, I had run out of the French chocolate my husband had brought me, so I used Cadbury’s Royal Dark, which you can find at most supermarkets or use this link to order a supply. I now have the French chocolate stockpiled, and the husb is headed back to France this summer, so my pantry should be all set for the next year or so.

Update: I’ve had to cut back on chocolate due to my acid reflux issues, so I haven’t been able to make the mousse in a while. I shall live vicariously through my readers.

Now on to the logistics

The first step is to separate the yolks from the eggs (you can use this egg separator or even a slotted spoon) and then beat the whites until soft peaks form (I have this affordable hand-held mixer). The instructions I originally used said to do this after melting the chocolate, but the chocolate would be too cool by the time I was done with the whites and thus would seize (that is, it would harden while I was mixing it into the whites).

So, my strategy is to set the whites aside after beating, melt the chocolate, stir one yolk into the chocolate at a time (again, to avoid the chocolate seizing because of the cooler temperature of the yolks), and then beat the whites quickly again to reset them. Fold in the chocolate gently a little at a time (again, to avoid that pesky seizing) and combine well.

Mixing bowl with beaten egg whites showing soft peaks. Egg beaters with egg whites dripping off them appear in the lower left corner.

SKIP TO RECIPE

Just chill

Once that’s all done, you’re ready to chill the classic French chocolate mousse but not before portioning it out. You could just transfer the whole thing to a bowl and serve by spoonfuls later, but that’s not much fun. I used to put the mousse in separate wine glasses, which was quite a presentation. However, it was a real pain to pour the mousse into them evenly. Now I use a small measuring cup to scoop the mousse into four-ounce ramekins. The mousse isn’t quite as elegant this way, just cuter.

Four small ramekins filled with classic French chocolate mousse. Part of a mixing bowl appears in the top right with the remaining mousse and a rubber spatula.
Filling ramekins is messy business.

SKIP TO RECIPE

Chill the mousse for at least three hours and don’t add any toppings while the mousse is still thin—they will just sink to the bottom. Some topping suggestions would be strawberry slices, whipped cream, and a piece of chocolate as shown in the video or other berries of your choice, chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, shaved chocolate, powdered sugar, white chocolate chips, sprinkles, orange zest, edible flowers, peanut butter chips, and the list can go on and on!

I hope you enjoy this classic French chocolate mousse as much as I, my husband, my husband’s coworkers, my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother-in-law, and my nieces did! Yep, I’ve sure served it a lot. It also goes nice with my chicory tea coffee substitute.


Shopping list

6 large eggs
200 grams chocolate

Tools

egg separator
large mixing bowl
electric mixer
double boiler (or small pot with heat-proof bowl)
wooden spoon
rubber spatula
4 small serving bowls or ramekins


Classic French Chocolate Mousse

Serves: 4
Total time: 25 minutes

IMPORTANT!
This recipe uses raw eggs. In Europe and most other countries, eggs are not usually refrigerated, so room temperature eggs are not an issue. However, in the United States, care should be taken—don’t leave the eggs out of the fridge for more than two hours because the change in temperature will cause bacteria to grow.

Ingredients and preparation

6 large eggs: Leave out of the fridge for about an hour
200 g chocolate: Break up

Instructions

  1. Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. Put the egg whites in the large mixing bowl, and set aside the yolks for later use. With the electric mixer, beat the egg whites until peaks are firm (about 7–10 minutes).
  2. Melt the chocolate well in the double boiler. Remove it from the heat, and then stir in one yolk at a time, being careful not to let the chocolate cool.
  3. Beat the egg whites again for about a minute if they have settled while you worked with the chocolate. Gently fold in the chocolate and yolk mixture a little at a time until well blended. Distribute the mousse in the serving bowls evenly, and chill for at least 3 hours.
  4. Serve with whipped cream, berries, more chocolate or whatever your heart desires!

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