- 2 cups chilled heavy cream (extra for garnish)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
- berries for garnish
- Confectioners Sugar for sweetening whipped cream garnish
- Garnish: lightly sweetened whipped cream, berries and a shaving of chocolate
- Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer, large ice cream scoop
- Heat 3/4 cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool.
- Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.
- Scoop or spoon mousse into 8 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours. Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving. (I used a large ice cream scoop and was only able to fill 6 of my cups.)
Mousse can be chilled up to 1 day.
To vary the flavor, you can replace the 1 teaspoon vanilla with 2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder (dissolve it in the hot cream) or 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or 2 tablespoons Cognac (either one whisked into strained custard).