In his book Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavour (Columbia University Press, 2008), French chemist Hervé This detailed how make creamy dairy-free chocolate mousse with just 2 ingredients: high-quality couverture chocolate and water.
While traditional mousses require egg yolks or heavy cream to develop their rich, velvety texture, This’s version relies on a trick of science. He combines two seemingly disparate ingredients—chocolate and water—to create a mousse of astonishingly airy and silky texture.
Hervé This figured out that couverture chocolate doesn’t need the fat from the cream or the lecithin from the eggs to become a mousse. High-quality couverture chocolate already contains fat in the form of cocoa butter, as well as lecithin (which is commonly used as an emulsification agent to bind cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar during the manufacturing process). So in this recipe, all that is needed in order to create a mousse is liquid and whisking. Amazing!
- 3/4 c (6 ounces) water
- 8 ounces Cococo bittersweet couverture or Cococo semisweet couverture (this recipe should also work with Cococo couverture milk chocolate)
- ice cubes
- whipped cream for topping (optional)
* Flavour variations:
Instead of water, use the same amount of another liquid. For example: tea, coffee, orange juice, passion fruit juice, rum, whisky, Kahlúa, or cherry liqueur. You can even add spices, like cinnamon, or a bit of sugar if you'd like it sweeter.
** Trouble shooting:
If the mixture is very thick and grainy-looking, that means you have over whipped. Don't worry, it's not ruined! You can re-melt the mixture in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave in 10-second intervals until smooth and try again. The remelted mixture will not completely deflate. Whisk gently until slightly thickened but still slightly looser than the first attempt, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Recipe courtesy Hervé This, Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavour (Columbia University Press, 2008).