Triple Chocolate Mousse

I was driving through town this morning, the sky blue with the promise of a warm day ahead. After several foggy daybreaks, it was refreshing to my soul. James Taylor was playing on the radio and I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty.

The last couple of days, I have been feeling tired; I’m not sure if I was fighting something, but there was just a general lack of energy. Time seemed in rare supply and the gloom of the chilly mornings got under my skin. Even a good sweat at the gym couldn’t cure my blues.

But as I listened to the song on the radio, I was transported to a place from long ago, back when I was newly graduated and trying to find my place in the corporate world. Back then, I spent my Thursday evenings at Beth Israel hospital – it was a long stopover from my eastward commute, and I would volunteer my time at a child life unit, where James Taylor would often play in the background. I would be humbled each time by the strength of the children and the smiles in their eyes. Despite their suffering, despite the shunts in their brain, despite the agony of chemotherapy, despite their encounters with death, they still managed to smile. And this grounded me.

How quick we are to complain, to whine, to feel sorry for ourselves. I’m just as guilty as the next person. Hearing Fire & Rain reminded me to go get some perspective. I know how fortunate I am. How lucky I am to have my health. A home. Love.

And maybe that’s just it. I will admit it. I missed my husband this week and felt it keenly. I smelled his robe. I looked forward to his calls.

I made this Triple Chocolate Mousse.

I don’t need to wait for Valentine’s Day.

Three layers of fluffy richness – white, milk and dark chocolates – topped with a sweet whipped cream and crunchy chocolate-covered cocoa nibs – isn’t this a perfect way to celebrate the ones you love? To say I missed you? Welcome home.

Can you just taste it? Here, let me help you.

There now. All better.

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Triple Chocolate Mousse

Yield: 4 (generous) servings.

Now you know me, I don't need a holiday as an excuse to make anything chocolate-y. But of course, this just screams Valentine's Day! The original recipe, was intended as a torte for a party of 12. All I have done is scaled it down to serve the extra special ones in your life (in my case, four, including myself!), and rather than molding into an elegant torte, I served it in casual, cozy individual glasses. No matter how your present it, the mousse is light, creamy and perfectly chocolate-y.

Ingredients:

1 pint heavy cream
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
Additional confectioners sugar for remaining whipped cream
Chocolate covered cocoa nibs, for garnish

Directions:

Using a mixing bowl and whisk attachment that has been chilled in the freezer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator until needed.

Place semisweet, milk and white chocolates in three separate small bowls.

In a small bowl, place cold water and sprinkle the gelatin. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, until the gelatin is soft.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a whisk until the mixture is light yellow and creamy. Place the milk in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Ladle out about 1/2 cup of the milk and add it in a steady stream to the egg yolks, whisking continuously. Pour the warmed egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk and whisk well. Stir over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. If you run a finger through the coated spoon, it should leave a line down the middle.

Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the softened gelatin until it dissolves. Divide the custard amongst the three bowls of chocolate, pouring about 1/3 cup in each. Stir each chocolate well. If the chocolate does not melt, place on a double boiler/pan of simmering water and stir until melted. Allow the three chocolates to cool to room temperature.

Divide the whipped cream and fold in about 3/4 cup into each bowl of chocolate. There will be some whipped cream left over, set that aside momentarily.

Pour the first layer of chocolate mousse in the serving cups, spreading the top evenly. Freeze for 15 minutes. Continue this process with the remaining chocolate mousses. The mousse can be prepared up to two days in advance; cover each cup with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Sweeten the remaining whipped cream with a about a tablespoon of confectioners sugar, whisk well. Before serving, place a dollop of cream and sprinkle with chocolate covered cocoa nibs.

Recipe from Triple-Chocolate Mousse Torte, Bon Appetit via Epicurious. Slightly adapted and scaled down.

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by Liren Baker on February 9, 2012

17 Responses to “Triple Chocolate Mousse”

  1. Brian February 10, 2012 @ 7:50 am (#
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    Such a thoughtful piece, Liren! I have such fond memories of James Taylor. I remember singing Fire and Rain at a cabaret event at a summer program I did at Amherst College. It was right after I came out to my family and it was the first time I told complete strangers that I was gay…. something about singing in front of people and that song…. well, I will never forget that.

    Wishing you a very happy Valentine’s Day! This dessert looks magical.

    • Liren replied: — February 10th, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

      Isn’t it amazing, the connections and memories we have with songs? Just like food, I think. What a powerful memory to have with Fire and Rain – I can just imagine the strength and courage that took, Brian! Proud of you :) Maybe one day you’ll reprise your performance for us! Would love to hear you sing.

      Happy Valentine’s Day, too! Enjoy the weekend :)

  2. Cookin' Canuck February 10, 2012 @ 7:58 am (#
    2
    )

    What a thoughtful post. So often we need reminders that our everyday gripes are so petty compared to what others are going through. And these chocolate mousse? Well, let’s just say it’s one of my favorite desserts and you have made one of the prettiest versions I’ve seen in a long time.

    • Liren replied: — February 10th, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

      Hi Dara, yes, it was a good wake up call for me :) And yes, chocolate mousse is one of my favorites too, I was worried I wouldn’t do it justice, it’s so hard to get inside a glass perfectly! But I embraced its imperfections and am so flattered you think it looks so pretty! Happy V-day a few days early, enjoy your weekend!

  3. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com February 10, 2012 @ 8:04 am (#
    3
    )

    A very thought-provoking post. Many go through lives with much more pain and suffering. I am just as guilty whenever I complain even for a teeny little problem.

    Lovely chocolate mousse — so appropriate for V-day!

  4. Mary@siftingfocus.com February 10, 2012 @ 8:16 am (#
    4
    )

    Reading this post early in the morning before I begin my day. A simple reminder that will keep me on course today – counting my blessing as I go.

    I love, love, love these photos! And, the mouse is a perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day – or any occasion. Even the return of a loved one.

  5. foodwanderings February 10, 2012 @ 5:38 pm (#
    5
    )

    Love chocolate mousse Miss Liren. Perfect for valentine’s Day along with James Brown! :)

  6. Choc Chip Uru March 5, 2012 @ 12:36 am (#
    6
    )

    What a divine little treat, so creamy and refreshing – and why have one tone when you can have 3 :D
    Love your blog!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Traditional Lemon Meringue Tart

  7. Eileen March 5, 2012 @ 8:52 pm (#
    7
    )

    Beautiful post and adore the last photo. Very sweet of you to give us a taste!

    • liren replied: — March 8th, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

      Thank you, Eileen!

  8. Platanos, Mangoes & Me! March 10, 2012 @ 2:21 am (#
    8
    )

    Lovely post and so true…

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  10. James January 17, 2013 @ 5:32 am (#
    9
    )

    This looks wonderful and would like to make it tonight. Are the chocolates baking chocolate or something else?

    • liren replied: — January 18th, 2013 @ 8:39 am

      Hi James, yes, a good quality baking chocolate, such as Valrhona would be ideal in this mousse. Even Ghirardelli chocolate chips would work (no need to chop the chocolate). Just make sure it is either semisweet or bittersweet. Good luck!

  11. enrara October 13, 2013 @ 4:47 pm (#
    10
    )

    This looks wonderfull, but one question, in the recipe its says 0.5 cups of milk is an ingredient, then to laddle out 0.5 cup of the milk, and so on, but then later it says to ass the remaining milk, how can there be any remaining milk if you laddle out all of the 0.5 cups?

    -your confused fan enrara

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