Not too sweet but definitely rich --- a little goes a long way.
1 1/2 cups extra dark chocolate chips (I like Guittard 68% cacao)
3 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons sour cream, for garnish
1/2 cup fresh fruit, for garnish
Melt chocolate and butter over medium low heat in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and while stirring, slowly pour in egg yolks then vanilla. Stir for 1 minute until smooth and well combined. Set aside. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating and gradually add the sugar. Beat to stiff peak stage. Set aside. Beat heavy cream to soft peaks. Stir 2 or 3 tablespoons of chocolate mixture into whipped cream with a wire whisk. Add about 1/3 of the egg whites and whisk again. Whisk in half of the remaining chocolate and half of the remaining egg whites. Finally, whisk in the rest of the chocolate and egg whites. Divide mousse into 12 dessert dishes or goblets. Chill for at least 2 hours. Before serving, stir sour cream to lighten slightly and place 1 teaspoon on each mousse. Top with fresh fruit and serve.
Hints: A mousse has three main parts: flavoring, whipped cream and whipped egg whites. This chocolate version is one I created to begin learning proportions. I will also share a couple of others that are flavored differently in future posts. Melting the chocolate is pretty easy if you use low heat and watch it carefully. Stirring constantly is necessary, as is removing from the heat just as soon as it has melted. If you are still worried about scorching it, use a double boiler for the melting. Stirring the egg yolks into the hot chocolate mixture will cook them enough to kill salmonella. If you are worried about the egg whites, you can use powdered egg whites. This recipe can be placed into a large bowl and served family style. Garnish with whatever fruit is in season--I used pomegranate this time but strawberries, raspberries, kiwi or orange segments are great. Of course you can forgo the fruit and use chocolate curls or cocoa powder to garnish. Also, you can substitute whipped cream for the sour cream. I prefer the slight tang the sour cream adds to the dessert.
Whenever a restaurant has a dessert buffet, there is usually at least one type of mousse. That's because they are easy to make, fairly inexpensive to make and can be made a day ahead. But also because most people like them!