Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This may be the best chocolate mousse you will ever taste! Chef Dennis Foy introduced me to it when I worked at his restaurant, The Tarragon Tree, and I have never founded a better recipe. Unlike many mousses I have tasted, this tasted, this one is just sweet enough and not at all cloying. It reminds me of European chocolates, which are more deeply flavored and less sweet than those we have here. It is also dense enough to double as a cake filling; see Simple Chocolate Cake.

Makes8 to 10 servings


Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe CourseDessert

Dietary ConsiderationGluten-free, Halal, Kosher, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegetarian

EquipmentElectric Mixer


MoodFestive, Romantic

Taste and TextureChocolatey, Creamy, Rich, Sweet

Type of DishChocolate Dessert, Dessert


  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup cognac or dark rum (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature


  1. In the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt the unsweetened and semisweet chocolates together. The chocolate should be just warm.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment (or with a hand-held mixer), whip the cream at high speed until it forms soft peaks: chill.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, bear the yolks at high speed until thick and lemon colored. While the yolks are beating, combine the sugar and water in a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil exactly 90 seconds without stirring. Slowly pour the sugar mixture into the egg yolks, continuing to beat. Add the optional cognac.

  4. Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, reduce the speed to medium-low, and slowly add the chocolate mixture. Beat 4 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the bowl once or twice, until both the mixture and the bowl feel warm but not hot. Add the butter piece by piece and mix well.

  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl and whisk in half the whipped cream. With a spatula, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.

  6. Pour the mousse into 8 to 10 serving glasses or bowls and refrigerate at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days.

Order of Preparation

  1. Melt the chocolate.

  2. Whip the cream and refrigerate.

  3. Prepare the egg and sugar mixture.

  4. Combine the mousse ingredients and chill.


  1. Boil the sugar and water mixture for 90 seconds, but no more. The syrup should form a string when a wooden spoon dipped into it is lifted out.

  2. Cool down the chocolate egg yolk mixture so that it is just barely warm to the touch before you whisk in the whipped cream.

  3. Make-ahead note: The mousse can be refrigerated up to 3 days.


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