Hervé This' Chocolate Mousse

By • February 10, 2012 • 57 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 (57)

Comments (57) Questions (4)

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Stringio

3 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!

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4 months ago Aditi

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

Epietzsch

5 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.

Stringio

6 months ago Joyce Oxfeld

Gr8 Three do overs included.

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7 months 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.

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about 1 year ago Sashi

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

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about 1 year ago Rena Jawary

Would this work with white chocolate?

Miglore

about 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...

Stringio

over 1 year ago Sundeep Dawale

I am having this for desert tonight. Thank you!

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over 1 year 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.

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over 1 year 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.

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

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

2012_413

over 1 year 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.

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over 1 year ago Barbara385

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

Miglore

over 1 year 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.

Kkk

over 1 year ago Tricia Summers

Sounds deelish! I'll try it sometime

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

Junehandsonchin

over 1 year ago JuneRoca

What's the chocolate ingredients listed at the back of it? Does it have sugar?

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over 1 year ago Janet Paula Lieber

How long will this keep refrigerated?

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

In my experience, it held up for a couple days in the fridge. It a little harder and more dense when cold, but still delicious.

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over 1 year ago mensaque

Is it really that simple?My favorite dessert made out of my favorite food and my favorite drink...

Port2

over 1 year ago nogaga

Has anyone tried this with 90% chocolate?

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over 1 year ago Janet Paula Lieber

Is it possible to replace the chocolate with cocoa powder and agave.

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Hi Janet, I don't think it would work -- you need the fat in the chocolate to emulsify into a mousse.

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over 1 year ago Janet Paula Lieber

If I wanted to add a little agave (I may be using 85% chocolate) do I have to make any changes in the amount of water.

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

That's probably not necessary, but be sure to check out step 3 if anything goes awry. Hope you like it!

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over 2 years ago Renée (RJ Flamingo) Joslyn

Inspired by this post, I made this Chocolate Orange Mousse Torte, that's kosher for Passover, dairy-free, and gluten-free: http://flamingomusings.... Turned out so great!