I can check off all my boxes with this decadent French chocolate mousse recipe.
It’s pareve, matzah-free, nut-free, does not call for special ingredients that may be hard to find for Passover and can easily be prepared a day or two in advance of the seder. And it’s very rich, so a little goes a long way.
I typically buy small plastic glasses that hold 2-3 ounces — just enough for you to get your fill but not overwhelm you as would a giant dessert after a holiday meal.
If you have a good kosher-for-Passover pie crust (or regular crust during the year) this mousse can be poured over the shell and refrigerated for a few hours to make a beautiful chocolate tart.
This recipe serves 6-12, depending on the size of your serving cups.
It can be prepared in about 20 minutes, before being placed in the refrigerator to set.
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
5 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt — use something fine like sea salt
1 tablespoon Cointreau or another kosher-for-Passover liqueur
Chocolate shavings for garnish
Whipped cream of your choice
Melt chocolate. Use a double boiler, or put a few inches of water in a saucepan and bring the water to a gentle boil. Next, put the chocolate pieces into a medium or large-sized glass/Pyrex bowl, and place that bowl over the pan full of water.
Reduce the heat of the burner to simmer, and constantly stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth.
Remove from heat, and set the bowl aside to cool slightly.
(If it is simpler for you, break up the chocolate bars and microwave for about a minute, watching it the entire time and being careful not to overcook. Then stir to make sure the chocolate is well mixed and without any hard pieces.)
The eggs must be at room temperature — which is generally the case for cooking and baking. Room-temperature eggs cook better and are fluffier. Set your eggs on the counter a few hours before you plan to make this recipe. In a pinch, you can put the eggs in a bowl and pour warm (not hot) water over them, changing the water a few times; they should be at the correct temperature within an hour.
Crack the eggs, dividing the yolks from the whites.
I’ve never been blessed to know someone who could create stiff peaks of egg whites by hand-mixing, so I suggest using an electric hand or stand mixer unless you have some serious talent. Beat the egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks are formed, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, gently mix the egg yolks into the warm chocolate. If the chocolate is too hot, the eggs will curdle, but if it’s simply warm to the touch you won’t have any issues.
Continually stir the mixture with one hand while pouring the eggs yolks in with your other hand. During this mixing process, it is common for the mixture to seize, meaning it suddenly begins to feel very firm. There is an easy fix. Take a tablespoon of the hot water from the pan that you melted the chocolate over and stir it into the chocolate and yolk mixture. Usually, 1 tablespoon does the trick, but use 2 if needed.
Once you can’t see any yolk peeking through and the mixture is shiny and smooth, add the vanilla and the salt. If you can’t find kosher-for-Passover vanilla or imitation vanilla, you can omit it, but the flavor won’t be quite as complex. If you wish to add liqueur, this is the time to mix it in.
Using a strong spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Take about 1/4 of the egg whites and fold in until fully combined. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
Pour the mixture into your preferred cups or glasses.
Cover each cup or glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.
This recipe can be made a day or two in advance and will keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator.
When it is time to serve you can add fruit, chocolate shavings and pareve or dairy whipped cream of your choice. The result will be a firm dessert with a bit of a chew, similar to the texture of a soft marshmallow.
Wishing you a kasher chag v’sameach — a happy and beautiful Passover — and, as always, bless your hands. I hope that every recipe you put your love and attention into turns out beautifully and is appreciated by your family and guests. PJC
Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.