Another mousse recipe? So soon after the last one? Isn’t that a little much?
First of all: there is no such thing as too much chocolate mousse. There is only not enough.
Second of all: unlike the Nutella mousse, which was more of a cheater’s mousse-ish concoction, this is real mousse. Legit mousse. Eat-it-while-wearing-a-beret mousse. Which is a whole ‘nother animal.
And finally: it’s all in the name of loooooove, baby.
I had mousse on the brain after seeing the basic recipe on Eat Live Run (courtesy of Adrianna at A Cozy Kitchen.) I decided to make mousse hearts when I saw this gorgeous dessert from Eddy van Damme, who in addition to having a crazy movie star name also posts the most gorgeous, professionally plated desserts.
The way is not always smooth when it comes to true love, however. For instance, one might work for several hours making mousse, molding hearts, pouring on chocolate gelee, and decorating them with edible gold leaf, only to have a wily photography light jump from its tripod and land right on top of the desserts on the table, breaking several hearts in the process.
(Don’t worry, I totally scraped those mangled hearts off the marble slab and ate them one after the other standing over the sink. ‘Cause I’m classy like that.)
If you want to make mousse hearts (or any molded mousse dessert) you’ll need flexible silicone molds. If that seems like a bit too much work, I’m happy to report that this mousse is also amazing when poured into cups and topped with just a dollop of whipped cream…
or whipped cream with salted caramel sauce…
…or chocolate gelee and disco dust. (Told you I deserve kickbacks.)
So gather your nearest and dearest and make them this mousse, served however you’d like. It’s rich, and creamy, with a deep caramel taste balanced by a hint of salt. This recipe makes quite a bit, by which I mean it took two of us three whole days to polish it all off. In normal person math, that’s probably 6-8 servings.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse
For the Mousse:
3 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided use
2 tbsp water
Dash cream of tartar
2.5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or large-grained sea salt
For the Chocolate Gelee:
1/2 tbsp powdered unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
To Make the Mousse:
Separate the eggs. Place the whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer, and place the yolks in a large bowl. Gently whisk the yolks to break them up.
Heat the cream in the microwave or in a small saucepan just until it comes to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and set it aside.
Combine 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, the water, and the cream of tartar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Once it starts boiling, stop stirring and just let it cook until it reaches a medium-brown color. Don’t chicken out and stop it early—it needs to be well-caramelized in order to get that caramel flavor in the final mousse. (If you want to use a candy thermometer, you’re looking for 330-340*F).
Once it’s a deep amber and fragrant, take it off the heat and whisk in the butter. Add the cream—careful, it will bubble up!—and whisk until it’s combined. Add the chopped chocolate and the salt, and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes.
Slowly whisk the warm caramel into the egg yolks, stirring the whole time so you don’t shock the eggs and start cooking them.
Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, then start adding the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar slowly. Continue to beat them until they hold firm peaks but are not dry and crumbly.
Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate-yolks mixture. Once it’s mostly incorporated, add another third and gently fold it in. Finish with the last third of the egg whites and fold until no white streaks remain.
Pour the mousse into small ramekins, cups, or the cavities of a flexible silicone mold. I think it’s easiest to work with molded mousse if it has a cake base, so if you have cake lying around, add a thin (1/4-inch) layer of cake to the top of the cavities. If not, it will still work well but is a little messier to plate.
Refrigerate the cups overnight, or freeze the mold overnight. (The mousse must be frozen in order to be unmolded cleanly.) Serve with whipped cream and/or salted caramel sauce.
To Make the Chocolate Gelee:
Mix the gelatin and tablespoon of water in a small bowl, and let the gelatin sit and soften for 5 minutes. Microwave the gelatin for 20-30 seconds until it is fluid.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, granulated sugar, remaining 1/4 cup of water, and the cocoa powder. Place the pan over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the gelatin. Let cool until it starts to thicken and smoothly coats the back of the spoon—this will only take a few minutes. Once it’s ready, use immediately, as it will get thicker and thicker as it cools. If it becomes too thick to pour, microwave it briefly and whisk it until it is pourable consistency.