Mousse au chocolat and the secret trick …..

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 “Nearly everyone knows and appreciates the old and reliable formula for a chocolate mousse – 4 yolks beaten into 4oz of melted bitter chocolate and the 4 whipped whites folded in” –from Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking

Well they do now Elizabeth!

But I didn’t until a week ago on Saturday. I feel as if I’m a late comer to a party that everyone else has known about for AGES. So that day is marked in my diary as the day I discovered a dairy free chocolate mousse. I have a dairy thing – an allergy, an intolerance whatever you call it I have it and have had it since childhood – and that’s despite being brought up on raw milk. Goat’s  milk, sheep’s milk you name it milk was tried but it wasn’t until adulthood and getting some testing that it was confirmed as a full on thingy with dairy/lactose.

My way round it is generally to avoid the worst culprits – that means milk, cream and ice cream. They are no-gos for me. But there is a silver lining (there always is if you look for it); I do this so I can enjoy a few treats along the way – namely cheese. I couldn’t live life without cheese and let’s face it nor could I spend so much time in France if I didn’t eat cheese. The best approach I’ve developed is to completely avoid processed cheese and go for the full on un-pasteurised cheeses – in tiny oh so pleasurable doses. It’s all about balance.

All this means that I rarely partake of desserts or puddings; custard I dream of you, but I avoid you, ice cream, I treat myself to a yearly flavour hit, crème Brulee – I love you but know you are wickedness personified.

Chocolat eMousse (8)

Dairy free mousse au chocolat is a delight – soft and velvety with a deep chocolate flavour and yet so light and fluffy. The recipe I asked? “Oh it’s simple, a bar of chocolate, 6 eggs (yolks added to chocolate, whites whipped up) and 2 spoons of sugar” came the reply. Well my French isn’t the best but I understood that!

Back home, looking on line and double checking I find a great article in the Guardian where some kind soul tested out various versions – complicated, adding cream, alcohol you name it they tested. The verdict was that Elizabeth David’s was the best, the simplest and easiest and yes tastiest.

But the one thing the author of the article and Mrs David’s missed out was the insider French information. The trick. The piece de resistance…….

Leave it for 24 hours before you eat it.

Can you manage that? I know it’s tricky, thinking of the dark-delight that sits in the fridge, winking at you every time you have to open the door for something else. But do what I did – make it, refrigerate it, leave it till morning when you have better light to photograph it and then have it with a cup of coffee for a late breakfast.

Oh what I’m prepared to do for the sake of my blog………

Chocolat eMousse (28)

Mousse au Chocolat – Classic French Chocolate Mousse

Dairy free chocolate mousse

For 2 servings

Take 60g of dark (dairy free) chocolate and gently melt in a bowl over hot water, in the meantime in a separate bowl whip 2 egg whites (with a teaspoon of white sugar added) until they are firm,  add the egg yolks to the chocolate and blend in, now fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate with a metal spoon. Leave it in the bowl or pour into small serving bowls / glasses and pop in the fridge – best left for 24 hours remember!



  • Chocolate mousse is such a delectable dish. But I continue to have this guilt of adding both calories and cholesterol every time I look a mousse in the face! What could be the way out?


  • my mouth is watering claire … if only there was some bitter chocolate in the pantry …. but there will be tomorrow … i have dairy problems too so this recipe looks like a dream!

  • Chocolate mousse for breakfast! Someone knows how to live! BTW, love your header picture–a perfect breath of spring (while we live through record late cold and snow 😦 ).

    • It was more brunch your honour, honest!! And thank you, so pleased you like the iris – it’s the first to flower (the crocus have now died back), and today we have had our first sunshine in weeks. Phew!

    • So true Karen, there are times I have to avoid dairy altogether, but fortunately they don’t last very long. So it’s been a delight to find such a quick and simple desert to make, I don’t need to worry or think about dairy.

    • 🙂 You don’t HAVE to wait 24 hours, they are good after a couple…. I’m just told it get’s better and better….. maybe it’s the anticipation 🙂

  • It sounds like you’ve adjusted to your lactose allergy/intolerance admirably but I’m glad to hear that you’ve found a mousse recipe that’s so easy (barring the 24 hr wait, of course) and delicious to enjoy. It looks very light and foamy in its little cup. 🙂

    I have a friend whose chocolate tolerance is limited to the cocoa powder version rather than anything with cocoa butter in it. Adjustments get made and substitutions found.

    • I think it’s great that we can think around things and work out alternatives, like your friend, and with the internet ideas are literally a few seconds away!

  • Claire, thanks so much for a lactose free beauty. Something Dear Husband loves. I added finely chopped chocolate bits at the last minute to give it a gritty texture and he went ga-ga! Happy Easter!

    • Do Smidge do! They are truly so simple, and you don’t HAVE to prepare them 24hrs in advance, they are very good after a couple of hours in the fridge. And no special ingredients make them an even easier dessert to make at home. I’m sure you’d add your own twist 🙂

  • Oh my goodness, Claire. That’s it? I am not sure I needed to know that…I have a serious love of chocolate. I have joked with others that I have excellent self-control with chocolate. When I am sure they have completely believed that I don’t have a problem, I add, “as long as I don’t have any in the house.” I tend to not keep it around simply because it calls to me. This mousse recipe makes me very happy. I can’t wait to make it and the tip to hold it for 24 hours is so interesting. Decadent all the way! 🙂

    • I think I’m the opposite – I can have chocolate in the house for months, half-eaten packets in the cupboards, i’s all there! Savoury things are lethal to me – crisps and nuts arggghhh!
      I do hope you make the mousse, it really is outrageously simple, and you don’t have to wait 24 hours, a couple will do 🙂

  • Heavens – chocolate mousse for breakfast! I think if I had this in my fridge it would get me out of bed tomorrow morning! LOL!

  • I’ve learned several things from this post Claire…1) I need to put Elizabeth David on my nightstand for the (many) nights when sleep eludes me. 2) I need (as in NEED) to make this version of chocolate mousse. and 3) it’s totally acceptable for a person to enjoy chocolate mousse for breakfast! 🙂 xx

    • 🙂 at 2 and 3
      And ye to number 1 – I’ve just been reading the chapter on sauces, or rather dipping in and out of it, so many ideas there and I enjoy her style, very matter of fact and a cook book for cooks

  • Oh yes you did! Made me salivate for this heavenly stuff, I mean. If you *do* get serious pangs for cream-based foods anytime, may I recommend coconut milk (the full fat kind–my favorite is Chaokoh brand, if you can get it) as a substitution that’s got a very similar profile for cooking and baking, is surprisingly not overly coconut flavored (doesn’t compete with other flavors and seasonings much) and doesn’t bother most people who can’t ‘do’ dairy. I’ve made tons of things with it in place of cream and some of them I like not only as well but *better* that way. And of course for my curries I don’t often veer away from straight-up coconut milk with my homemade curry powder added. 🙂 Still, it’s clear you’ve not suffered the lack of exceedingly delicious food without dairy!! xo

    • Thank you Kathryn for reminding me, I remember you writing about using coconut milk and how good it is, but I’d forgotten. Consider that remedied! And yes of course I use it in curries, but haven’t extended it to sweet treats. as I say consider that a done deal 🙂 Happy days!

  • Ah, chocolate mousse….makes me close my eyes and imagine a taste. You know, as much as I enjoy it somewhere else, I’ve never made it. I guess that’s why it always seems so special.

  • I have an overabundance of eggs at the moment, so I think I need to get to the store and get some dark, dairy free chocolate! This sounds so lovely, Claire. Thank you for sharing the recipe! 🙂

  • When my children were growing up and we were vegetarians I used to worry that they might not be getting enough protein, so they had this chocolate mousse regularly. (son is now six foot four and a half and my daughter five foot ten)
    So chocolate mousse is nourishing too!!!

    • Good proteins are so important aren’t they Valerie, I worry a bit about my partner which is why I try and make sure we have things like lentils and eggs regularly. My mum used to make more milky puddings, thinking milk was good for growing kids – well it is if 1 of them doesn’t have a lactose thingy 🙂

  • Sorry about the allergy…but sounds like you have found a wonderful way round it! I’m not a big chocolate fan, but every so often I have a craving and this is exactly what would eat!

  • I learnt two new things, one you can make a dairy free mousse and two you need to leave it for a day to make it better, thank you! Can you use lactose free milk?

  • I’ll double the mixture so that half can be eaten today and half in 24hrs – for the sake of science you understand 🙂

  • Claire, here’s to patience, recognizing culprits, and your once-a-year Creme Brulee. (And, a stellar mousse recipe, I might add…)

    • Stella is such a great word, thank you for the kind words or should I say stella. The recipe is superb, and you have reminded me to make it again… 🙂

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