Chocolate Mousse for One

This chocolate mousse from Elizabeth David is made with just chocolate, eggs, and water. A decadent yet deceptively easy dessert that serves just one although it can easily be scaled up with simple math.

Two individual servings of chocolate mouse in glass tumblers served on a small plate with a silver spoon resting beside.

This chocolate mousse is a seemingly sophisticated chocolate fix that draws on just three ingredients, comes together in minutes, and is satiating beyond belief. And it makes just a single serving, and we don’t think we need to elaborate on why that’s a boon.–Renee Schettler

Raw Egg Reminder

Hey, in case you hadn’t noticed, this recipe contains raw egg. Please be mindful if making it for anyone for whom this is a potential no-go, including the very young, the rather old, those expecting a child, and anyone with a depressed immune system.

Chocolate Mousse

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 5 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 1
5/5 - 4 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the At Elizabeth David's Table cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Ingredients


Directions

In a heavy saucepan over a low flame, warm the chocolate and water or coffee until the chocolate melts. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, perhaps 5 minutes or so.

Tester tip: If you want to make things easier, heat the water in the microwave or use freshly brewed hot coffee and simply stir the chocolate into the liquid. It’ll quickly melt without you needing to wash a pan.

Separate the egg(s). In a bowl, beat the egg yolk(s) to combine. Very slowly stir the melted chocolate into the yolk(s).

In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer on high speed, beat the egg white(s) until very stiff. Using a spatula, gently fold the white(s) over and over into the chocolate until things are perfectly blended and no streaks remain.

Place the mousse in ramekins or lovely glasses if making it for one or two or a soufflé dish if serving several guests.

Tester tip: When selecting glasses or a dish, keep in mind that’s nothing’s sadder than a small amount of mousse hiding at the bottom of a huge glass or bowl.

Refrigerate for 10 minutes if your craving is intense, 30 minutes if you have a little patience, or 3 hours or so if you’re serving at a dinner party. Don’t refrigerate it any longer than that, as this tends to make the texture too hard. Originally published May 12, 2011.

Print RecipeBuy the At Elizabeth David's Table cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This chocolate mousse recipe is such an easy dish to make that there’s no excuse not to do it. It’s also a wonderfully adaptable recipe. I made this twice—once using a 70-percent cacao dark chocolate and again using a white chocolate. You could really use any type of chocolate here, depending upon your taste.

Keep in mind that the only sweetening in this recipe comes from the chocolate itself. With the 70-percent dark chocolate, I got an intensely-flavored mousse with very little sweetness. So if you like a sweeter mousse, you might want to use a milder dark chocolate with less cocoa solids, or even a milk chocolate.

The white chocolate version I made was a very different animal—much sweeter, but still delicious. Both versions were lovely garnished with fresh strawberries.

This chocolate mousse recipe was easy to make, with delicious results—a nice, light dessert to finish off any meal. I had some hot strong coffee on hand and used that in the chocolate. I didn’t even need to turn on my stove. All I had to do was stir the hot coffee into the chocolate and it melted perfectly.

I made 4 individual servings in ramekins, as suggested in the recipe. I’ll make this recipe again.

I’ll most definitely memorize this chocolate mousse recipe for future impromptu desserts. Super easy and hit the spot with its light, creamy texture.

As a sea salt fanatic, I’m always sprinkling the tiniest flakes into my dishes, and this mousse is no exception. It brought out the best in the chocolate and didn’t hide that tinge of French-press coffee I added early on.

Next time, I might be tempted to add some lemon or orange zest as a garnish. Also, refrigerating this dessert for about 10 minutes is just about as long as you’ll be able to resist before you dig in!

I like the ratio concept of this chocolate mousse recipe (with credit to Michael Ruhlman). Definitely a keeper.

For the two of us, I used 2 ounces of 55-percent chocolate, 2 large eggs, and 2 tablespoons of espresso. I put the chocolate into a small Pyrex and measured in the hot espresso, then popped it into the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. I added the still-quite-warm chocolate very slowly while stirring constantly, so as to not cook the eggs too quickly.

I put the finished mousse into the refrigerator for about a half-hour to set, and the texture was mousse-like, not hard. My husband would’ve liked a firmer texture, closer to a pudding, but I think the texture was exactly what Ms. David was looking for.

The flavor of the espresso was notable, but not overwhelming. I also think this would be good with some Grand Marnier instead of espresso—perhaps half water, half Grand Marnier. Or Kahlua. The possibilities are really endless—whatever you like with chocolate.

This is a must-make dessert. The chocolate mousse is so delicious, so easy, so elegant. This is the perfect dessert to make for just you and your special someone, or even for a large party. I made only 2 servings and whisked the egg whites by hand—which wasn’t easy. Making more servings would be an even easier task since you can whip up the whites in a stand mixer.

I used coffee instead of the water, which gave the mousse depth. Next time, I’m going to try Kahlua or Frangelico, which might add an interesting dimension. The ideas are endless. I love this recipe.

The utter simplicity of this chocolate mousse recipe turns out not to be its best feature. Instead, it’s the pure chocolate taste and lovely light texture. This is very nearly the chocolate mousse recipe I’ve used for decades, although mine has a slightly higher proportion of chocolate. Some may prefer mousse that includes butter, sugar, or cream, but I find those too rich to enjoy for more than a few spoonfuls. This mousse, while light, still tastes decidedly of chocolate, and I can eat a whole serving—or two.

Of course, you must use only the highest-quality chocolate; something you’d eat straight. Despite the warning that this becomes too hard if refrigerated, that’s the safest way to store it.

How it sets up depends on a few factors. The first is what chocolate you use. Chocolates vary widely in cocoa butter and chocolate solids content. The second is how firmly you beat the egg whites. I don’t beat egg whites for uncooked dishes until “very” stiff. I find that just-stiff peaks fold best and set up just right. If aiming for very stiff, it’s easy to overbeat the whites, especially since there’s no addition of sugar, which will produce a somewhat less smooth mousse. Finally, your folding technique will have an impact, too. The recipe cautions to blend perfectly, but be careful too not to overdo it or the mousse will be deflated and heavy.

This chocolate mousse was sublime for so few ingredients and so little work! This is the place to use your premium-dark chocolate, as the flavor really shines through. I also like that it’s so easily customized for an individual treat or expanded for the number of people being served.

I couldn’t resist the temptation of whipping up a single serving and it didn’t disappoint. Even in the small batch, the recipe worked well and yielded a very generous serving (too much for my 4-ounce ramekin). I didn’t use the coffee and the chocolate flavor was perfect on its own.

This recipe is so simple that it’s easily memorized.

For my first try, I only waited an hour before needing to try it. The second time I let it sit for 4 hours. There really was no difference in the texture between the two batches—both had a very soft texture that melts in the mouth, and they were almost liquid at the bottom of my ramekins. Having previously only eaten firmer mousse that was made with whipped cream, I’m not really sure if this is the desired texture or not for this type.

What an awesome chocolate mousse! So fast to make and with just a few ingredients, it could almost be a last-minute dessert. What an elegant mousse those ingredients produce. I’ll definitely keep this recipe close by.

OK, I messed this one up in a panic. All was going well until I tasted the chocolate base before mixing it in with the egg whites—it was really bitter. I didn’t want the 4 servings to be bitter for dinner guests, so added 1 tablespoon of sugar per serving. At that point, the base tasted more well-rounded and nicely sweet. I continued with the recipe, then set it in the fridge, as it was awhile before the dinner guests were to arrive. When it came time to have dessert, the mousse had set up perfectly—not too hard at all, as the author described.

However, when I took my first bite, the only thing I could think of was that I added too much sugar! While it wasn’t cloyingly sweet, I wish it had been more toned down in terms of its sweetness. When I remake this perfectly simple recipe, I’ll take a few deep breaths, remain calm, and stop myself from being the sugar fairy.

HUNGRY FOR MORE?

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Comments

    1. Claudia, when chocolate gets overheated it can seize, and it ends up becoming dry and clumpy and pretty unusable.

  1. This very straightforward chocolate mousse recipe appeared too simple to me. I was surprised to get such good results without cream, but the mousse does come out creamy and light. Using the microwave to melt the chocolate, the recipe took less than 5 minutes to complete. I used it as the top layer of a multi-layered chocolate cherry pie and used kirsch instead of rum. I would use this mousse in similar applications, to add another element to a fancy dessert. I probably wouldn’t serve the mousse all by itself, though. But if you wanted to make a really simple dessert, the strong dark chocolate flavor goes great with tart fruit.

  2. I was looking for a non-dairy chocolate dessert for Passover dinner (for 25!) and this was the perfect one. It came out rich and fluffy and everybody loved it. I will make it again. Only recommendation: use high-quality chocolate!

    Small tip: I had some leftover mousse, so I baked it in a thin layer and cut it in small pieces–et voilà! Small “biscuits” to dip in the mousse.

    1. Magnificent to hear that everyone loved this, Sarah! (Chocolate mousse for 25?! Brave soul!) And what you did with the leftover mousse was simply brilliant! Appreciate you sharing that trick! Props to you not only for cooking for so many but for being creative while you’re at it. Wishing you and yours a lovely Passover and looking forward to hearing which recipe on our site you try next…!

  3. Thank you, David, for sharing such a lovely recipe. Two questions, if that’s OK:

    1) What size should the egg be? I realize what’s “large” in Europe is equivalent to “Extra Large” in North America.

    2) I had bought couverture 80% cocoa solid chocolate not realizing it would set heavier than 66% (my French friend said, “no more than 70%!”, after the fact). Can I compensate for the extra cocoa solids with extra egg and / or water and achieve the same lightness?

    Thank you!

    1. Rowena you’re more than welcome. Regarding the egg size, these are standard U.S. large eggs, which I believe are the same in Canada, where you are. And about the chocolate, I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. You’ll have to play around if you’re using a higher percentage, as there are all kinds of chemical reactions that occur. My fear with more water is the chocolate may seize. You could try adding a tablespoon of egg white. That might give you the lift you’re looking for. Hope this helps.

  4. HI there, I’m having trouble stopping my melted chocolate from seizing. I’m using Lindt Dessert 70%. Heating gently with water has it seizing as soon as the chocolate is half melted. Any tips please???

    1. Hi Patricia, since you are having issues, you might want to try a bittersweet chocolate or possibly swap out that bit of water with coffee in future attempts. Sometimes you can salvage seized chocolate by adding a bit more water, which seems counterintuitive, but the extra water causes a phase inversion which can save that clumpy, grainy mess.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish