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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse

Yeah, yeah, I know. 95% of you just made new year’s resolutions to eat healthier. And here I am tempting you with chocolate mousse. I’m kind of evil. Plus, I’m looking out for the 5% who didn’t make such lofty goals…there is far too much health food talk going on around the food blogosphere right now. We want chocolate. We need chocolate!

Resolutions be damned, this mousse is too good not to share. For those of you who are crazy enough to have cut sugar and/or chocolate out of your life, well, just tuck this recipe into the back of  your brain for a day that you feel like cheating.

After Thanksgiving I had a hankering for some honest-to-goodness chocolate mousse, mousse without whipped cream mixed in. I did a little web search and came across a blog post by David Lebovitz where he had made Julia Child’s recipe. Since both of these people are beyond trustworthy in the chocolate department, I decided to give it a try. All I have to say is Julia knows her chocolate. It was beyond rich and the texture was just what I was looking for. Ooo. La. Laaaaa.

Observe the texture. THAT is mousse.

Warning: you may die eating this mousse. That is how rich this dessert is. A dollop of whipped cream on top is advised.

Warning #2: This recipe requires lots of bowls. That’s just how Julia rolls.

Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s adaptation of Julia Child’s recipe found in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf) (the only reason I made adaptations is because I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, and the mousse still came out. PHEW. Click here to check out David’s version that is more true to Julia’s recipe.)
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (Jane note: my butter was salted, it’s what I had)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth. Remove from heat.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
  3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the ⅔ cup of sugar and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (Jane note: David suggested that you can also use a handheld electric mixer, which is what I did.)
  4. 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 above (Jane note: again, I used an electric mixer). Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. (Jane note: but be sure that it is ALL incorporated”¦I was so worried about losing volume that there were pockets of mousse that didn’t get the egg whites that were all wrong texture-wise”¦a bit more mixing would have solved that.)
  7. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.
  8. The mousse can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Servies 6-8.



  1. 1

    Soo making this once baby is weaned. Good find, I’m not a fan of the whipped cream ones either.

    • Jane Maynard

      sorry you have a baby sensitive to chocolate…don’t know what I would do if that happened to me! 😉

  2. Hm…tempting. Oh so tempting. It’s this dang “no sugar” thing I started…well, actually I already changed it to no desserts. Some sugar can’t be all that bad, right?

  3. Is this recipe even legal in all 50 states?! This is a perfect (make ahead!!) dessert for my chocolate-loving family.

  4. I am a chocoholic and so need my chocolate. A do ahead chocolate mousse, fantastic.

  5. 5

    I’m so sad about not being able to eat egg whites anymore FOR THIS REASON.

  6. Chocolate treat in the morning on a nice summers day. That seams like a nice morning on my day off.

  7. 7

    I made this and piped it into meringue shells, topped with a drizzle of raspberry. Absolutely divine.

  8. 8

    I made this and it turned out a little crunchy. Just wondering if that was because my sugar hadn’t fully combined with the egg yolk? Instead of superfine sugar, I used an organic sugar. Or perhaps the mixture crystallized at a later point? Pretty delicious anyways but not quite as smooth as I expected. I also froze it immediately after making to quicken the cooling time.

  9. Here is my issue. I am not allowed to make any desserts with white sugar in them. I know, silly, but the people I cook for insist on only unrefined brown sugar, called panela. I’m in Ecuador, and the homemade bitter chocolate varies, but it can be exquisite. So my regular mousse is about 60/40 industrial bittersweet/homemade extremely bitter. Now I have to go straight bitter and sweeten it, and the fat ratio has gone to pot. It turns out slightly runny on the bottom. Ew. Any ideas? The butter here has a higher water percentage as well.

    • virginia barilla

      I’m going to try this with Splenda Sweetener instead, because of type 2 diabetes and I’m also lactose intolerant, thus the heavy cream free version for me.

  10. 10

    I’m wondering how this mousse would fair if paired with delicate crepes? I think I should try.

  11. 11

    I wanted to suprise my mom with some mousse but I can’t drive and I only have .5 oz of chocolate. Is there anyway I can use that .5 oz and some unsweetened cocoa powder?

  12. 12
    John Burke

    Thanks for this. Subbed in 6T strong decaf for the water and used the mousse to fill my Yule Log cake. Super wonderful!

    • love that coffee substitute – fantastic idea! wish I could have had some of that yule log – filling it with julia’s mousse is a darn good idea!

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