Simple, yet elegant and light, chocolate mousse is very often unappreciated and usually for good reason. If an inferior chocolate is used, the taste will reflect it. Never settle for chocolate under 60% cocoa butter and your results will be applauded.
My presentation of this is a little different, insofar as I serve it in porcelain tea cups. My mother was an avid collector of these cups when she first married - I still remember teasing her about them and how corny all the patterns were. When I chanced upon serving the mousse in the tea cups, I can assure you the static was sparking. Search around Mom's and Grandma's place for your tea cups. Otherwise, good antique stores often have stacks of them.
8oz premium quality chocolate, such as Scharffen Berger (70%) or GW wafers (72%)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup brandy or water
5 extra large eggs, separated
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 tsp instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia D'Oro (Optional)
fresh berries or whipped cream rosettes and chocolate espresso beans
Place the chocolate, butter and brandy or water in the top of a double boiler over medium heat. Stir until smooth and melted.
Remove from heat and whisk in the yolks, one at a time, whisking well after each addition.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form and set aside. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff. Fold 1/4 of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining whites and whipped cream until the mousse is uniform in colour. Do not over mix.
Spoon the mousse into porcelain tea cups or small serving bowls or glasses and chill for at least 2 hours. Garnish with fresh berries, or whipped cream rosettes and chocolate espresso beans.
For espresso mousse, add 2tsp of instant espresso powder to the melting chocolate in the first step. Proceed as above.