Hervé This' Chocolate Mousse

By • February 10, 2012 • 65 Comments

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Author Notes: It took a brilliant, adventurous chemist to discover the simplest way to make chocolate mousse at home. Hervé This, the father of molecular gastronomy, discovered how to make a flawless, creamy chocolate mousse out of just chocolate and water.

This all happens fast as the mixture cools, so chances are you'll go too far on your first try. Don't worry — just return it to the pan, melt it, and start over (see step 3). Once you have the rhythm down, you can flavor it as you wish with liqueurs or coffee or spices, sweeten it to your liking, or just keep it dark and intense. In all of these scenarios, a little whipped cream up top is never a bad idea. Adapted from Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor (Columbia University Press, 2008)
Genius Recipes

Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) water
  • 8 ounces chocolate (we used 70% bittersweet — choose a high quality chocolate you love)
  • ice cubes
  • whipped cream for topping (optional)
  1. Simply pour water into a saucepan (which will be improved from the gastronomic point of view if it is flavored with orange juice, for example, or cassis puree). Then, over medium-low heat, whisk in the chocolate. The result is a homogenous sauce.
  2. Put the saucepan in a bowl partly filled with ice cubes (or pour into another bowl over the ice -- it will chill faster), then whisk the chocolate sauce, either manually with a whisk or with an electric mixer (if using an electric mixer, watch closely -- it will thicken faster). Whisking creates large air bubbles in the sauce, which steadily thickens. After a while strands of chocolate form inside the loops of the whisk. Pour or spoon immediately into ramekins, small bowls or jars and let set.
  3. Note: Three things can go wrong. Here's how to fix them. If your chocolate doesn't contain enough fat, melt the mixture again, add some chocolate, and then whisk it again. If the mousse is not light enough, melt the mixture again, add some water, and whisk it once more. If you whisk it too much, so that it becomes grainy, this means that the foam has turned into an emulsion. In that case simply melt the mixture and whisk it again, adding nothing.
  4. Serve immediately, or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream if desired.
Jump to Comments (65)

Topics: Hanukkah

Comments (65) Questions (4)


2 days ago roryrabbitfield

What would happen I used 85% dark chocolate?


about 1 month ago carlito

Que woww. Super easy. Used some gran marnier and plenty of sea salt. I kinda didn't think it would work, but genius recipes prove themselves again


about 1 month ago Roberta Rosenberg

I have not tried this yet, but am baffled as to why the chocolate doesn't break. Does it break only when you add water to chocolate rather than the reverse??


2 months ago witloof

What a perfect vegan dessert! We had a lot of fun making this and it was delicious. My friend turned up with chocolate chips, though, and I turned up my nose and sent him back out for Scharffenberger.


3 months ago Jacob

Not sure what i did wrong. Perhaps I didn't have enough fat or didn't whisk long enough. But after refrigerating ours turned out quite thick. My girlfriend described it as "fudgy". We still thought it was yummy and devoured them.


3 months ago mensaque

More fat and more whisking would have made it even thicker.The one in picture looks quite thick to me...


5 months ago arcane54

So easy! and it takes just a few moments of whisking for the chocolate to begin setting. I flavored it with a few drops of orange essential oil and will serve it with lightly sweetened whipped cream. My house was pretty warm today and the mousse began to "unsettle" after a few moments in the ramekins, so next time I'll prechill the containers and get them into the refrigerator more quickly. Pity the poor person who has to lick the bowl, the beaters, the spatula, her fingers...


5 months ago Stacy

Doesn't this need a sweetener of some kind? Or bittersweet chocolate will give it enough?


10 months ago Sarah Cherry Jumel

I used this to fill some cookies. It softened the cookies just as a good macaron filling should, so it is on my list for that use!


10 months ago Aditi

can the same be done for white chocolate mousse as well?


11 months ago borntobeworn

I made this for a party (5 batches) and added 3 Tbs of Chambord to each batch. I topped with fresh whipped cream with some sprinkles of raw sugar. My guests loved it.


about 1 year ago Joyce Oxfeld

Gr8 Three do overs included.


about 1 year ago Eva

This technique always amazes me. The texture is brilliant.

My one issue, though, is that I often end up with mousse that tastes too fruity. You must use high-quality chocolate, but it takes a bit of luck and careful consideration to find the best one for this mousse... I think one that has more "creamy" and "coffee" notes, without any sharp angles in the flavor. Honestly, one of the best ones I've found is the Trader Joe's Pound Plus dark chocolate because it seems to have a very smooth, "chocolatey" flavor.


over 1 year ago Sashi

Hi .. Can we use it on cake and leave at room temperature in tropical climates ??


over 1 year ago Rena Jawary

Would this work with white chocolate?


over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

We haven't tried it but it might work. I would use high quality white chocolate with a good amount of cocoa butter. Let us know if you try it! You might also want to try this: http://food52.com/recipes...


about 2 years ago Sundeep Dawale

I am having this for desert tonight. Thank you!


about 2 years ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

I whisked this by hand and it didn't really create air bubbles the way I expected it to. I think next time I will use an electric mixer to see what the different texture might be.


about 2 years ago roryrabbitfield

Would this recipe work if I reduced the quantities? I'd like to use a 3 oz chocolate bar and the proportional amount of water.


about 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yes, it should be fine, but you might want to use a smaller bowl.


about 2 years ago Peachylovecakes

This is a brilliant recipe! My boyfriend and I stumbled upon this tonight when we needed chocolate and were amazed when we got a perfectly textured, tasty mousse out of just chocolate and water.


about 2 years ago Barbara385

Which wisk, flat or balloon, when whipping chocolate by hand for this recipe?


about 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Any should work, though I think I'd go balloon if you have a choice.


about 2 years ago Tricia Summers

Sounds deelish! I'll try it sometime

For great Chocolate Mouse recipes & more, Visit http://cookingwithtricia...