Chocolate mousse is a delicious dessert that I thought could never be topped. But leave it to an Italian to take this classic dessert and make it richer, darker, and bolder by adding espresso and rum!
Although I never need an excuse to eat chocolate, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and I am planning ahead. Chocolate mousse immediately came to mind, but I wanted something with an Italian twist. After scouring the internet, I found several recipes for Mousse Al Cioccolato Italiano or Italian Chocolate Mousse. What all the recipes had in common is the use of dark chocolate and the addition of espresso and some type of liqueur.
Italian Chocolate – Cioccolato
Italian chocolate is rich in flavor and texture and has been produced for centuries. You are probably familiar with Italian cioccolato through companies such as Ferrero (makers of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher) or Perugina (the makers of Baci). So needless to say I think Italians know a thing or two about making great chocolate confections and desserts. Select Italy has a great article on the best chocolate in Italy if want to find one that you can’t live without.
What is the difference between Mousse, Pudding and Budino?
Literally translated Budino is Italian for “pudding”. Unlike the pudding that we are accustomed to, it is firmer, smoother, and richer. Budino is typically thickened with either cornstarch or flour, while a pudding is thickened using gelatin. The texture is closer to a custard. Mousse on the other hand is fluffy and airy and it gets its consistency from whipping air into the egg yolks and/or cream in the recipe. Mousse has a much lighter, more delicate texture.
What you will need
- Chocolate: Italian chocolate mousse calls for dark unsweetened chocolate. Most of my family finds this too far from the familiar flavors of milk chocolate for their liking. So, I substituted a mixture of 60% to 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate. This tones down the intense chocolate flavor a bit.
- Sugar: Many of the recipes that I reviewed used very little sugar, in fact most only added about 2 teaspoons of sweetener. Again, this was not going to work for my group. I increased the sugar to 2 tablespoons and my husband said it need a little more. I thought it was just right. If you like things a little sweeter I would increase the sugar slightly.
- Eggs : You will need 4 eggs. Separate the yolks and whites.
- Heavy Cream: The cream should be cold.
- Espresso: You will need to make the espresso, do not use the granules or the ground coffee.
- Rum: Some recipes called for different flavored liqueurs or and others used Rum. Whatever you prefer would be fine. Raspberry liqueur or Orange flavored liqueurs taste great with chocolate!
Tips for making the best chocolate mousse
Having everything ready to go is key so that you don’t have to stop between steps to prepare your ingredients.
- Make the espresso and allow it to cool a bit before you are ready to start.
- Make sure the cream is cold. Whip the cream and set it aside. The cream should be whipped to stiff peaks but try not to over whip it or it will start to separate.
- Separate the egg yolks and whites. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and set them aside.
- Melt the chocolate: I use the microwave to melt the chocolate and it works really well. Cut the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate on high in 30 second intervals. Check the chocolate and stir or whisk it between intervals, until it is completely melted and smooth. Towards the end you will have a few lumps that will disappear as you continue to stir the chocolate. Be careful not to scorch the chocolate by leaving it in the microwave too long.
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar until combined. Add the chocolate, espresso and rum and beat until smooth.
- Whisk in the egg yolks
- Gently fold in the whipped cream until large white streaks disappear.
- Spoon the mousse into serving cups and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. If you want to save yourself a step you can substitute store bought whipped cream for the homemade in this recipe. Just be sure to consider that the store bought whipped cream will be sweetened so you may have to adjust the sugar in this recipe if you don’t want a very sweet mousse.
You should cover this mousse with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Yes it must be stored in an airtight container with mousse filling the container almost to the top. The mousse can be frozen for up to 2 months. When you want to eat it, it can be enjoyed as a frozen dessert or you can put it in the refrigerator and allow it to thaw.
Yes it is safe to eat this mousse as long as you handle the ingredients carefully. Practice safe handling guidelines but make sure to keep your work area, clean, washing your hands and using clean utensils so that you avoid cross contamination. Make sure to store the mousse in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.
Other Italian desserts that are a must try:
Mousse Al Cioccolato [Italian Chocolate Mousse]
- 8 ounces Dark Chocolate 60% or 70% Cocoa such as Ghirardelli, cut into small chunks
- 4 Eggs separated
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- ¼ cup Espresso
- 2 tbsp Rum White
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high, 30 seconds at a time until melted and smooth. Make sure to stir the chocolate between each 30 second interval so that you don't scorch the chocolate.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. About 2 minutes and set aside,
- In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and set aside as well.
- Combine the egg yolks, sugar, and chocolate. Whip until well combined. Add the espresso and rum and mix well.
- Mix the egg whites into the egg/chocolate mixture until blended.
- Carefully fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
- Spoon the mousse into serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.