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You read that headline right. There’s a delicious dessert recipe out there that requires one simple ingredient.
While traditional chocolate mousse recipes require eggs, butter, sugar, heavy cream and cream of tartar to stabilize the egg whites, it turns out you can create an easy, minimalist version with just dark chocolate.
All right, technically, this recipe also incorporates air and uses both water and ice, but those are free. And there is a little bit of technique involved — this isn’t a dump dish that doesn’t require thought about what you’re doing.
The dessert originally comes from a French chef named Hervé This. It was originally published in his 2002 book “Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor,” where he calls the recipe Chantilly chocolate, and then shared by Epicurious.
You need a high-quality chocolate that has around 70% cocoa, which means you’ll likely need to search out a chocolate bar rather than chips, as chocolate chips tend to contain fewer cocoa butter solids, such as a 70% cocoa Lindt chocolate bar. You’re going to need about 8 ounces, which means multiple bars (standard chocolate bars are 3.5 ounces, so three bars will be enough, and you’ll have some left to nosh on).
You’ll chop and melt the chocolate in a bowl that’s sitting on 6 ounces of water in a bain marie, or a hot water bath. This gentle cooking method gives the chocolate a smooth texture without burning. Then place the bowl immediately in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and whip it up. That’s pretty much it.
According to Epicurious, it’s a trick of science that makes Chantilly chocolate work. Regular mousses incorporate air through whisking chilled, heavy cream. This allows the air bubbles to get trapped inside the fat particles, creating an airy texture once the cream is folded into melted chocolate. Whipped egg whites also add lightness through air bubbles, while egg yolks help emulsify fat and water to create the smooth and creamy texture. Chef This basically discovered that you don’t need the extra ingredients. Cocoa butter has plenty of fat, and the lecithin that’s already in the chocolate can do the emulsifying.
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind, though. When they tried the recipe, Simply Recipes found that you need to make sure the bowl for the mousse isn’t too big, and that you must start whisking it quickly once it’s on ice — otherwise the dessert sets too quickly and won’t get fluffy. Of course, you can fix that.
The result is a rich, satisfying dessert that’s friendly to those with egg and dairy allergies. Enjoy!