Upsettingly for me, Chaz is not a pudding person. I suppose I should be glad; if he was, we would both be the size of small houses. Last weekend was the first of three family Christmases and it was our turn to play host. Chaz was in charge of roast beef, I was in charge of the Cubs and my mother in law, Suze, brought pudding. If I was allowed I would have swapped courses one and two in return for the whole bowl of her sensational chocolate mousse. Her recipe is like no other. I dream about it. It's so good it feels like it should be kept a secret. Something that's only passed down from family to family and kept locked up for generations. Thank God she believes sharing is caring.
6 ounces dark chocolate, broken into chunks. Suze uses Bourneville.
3 fresh large organic eggs
2 to 3 tablespoons of water
Half an ounce of butter
3 drops of vanilla essence
Carefully separate the eggs. Allow the yolks to remain at room temperature, but chill the whites.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Then add the water to make it all silky.
Add the butter and vanilla essence.
Remove the chocolate from heat and add the yolks. (This part can be tricky: if the chocolate is too hot, the yolks will curdle. If it‘s too cool, the chocolate will solidify.) Stir well to combine.
Beat the chilled egg whites with a balloon whisk until they are stiff and firm, but not dry. Take one spoonful of the beaten whites and stir into the chocolate mixture, just to lighten it because it will be quite thick and stiff. Use a metal spoon not a wooden one.
Then add the chocolate mixture to the egg whites, very gently folding the chocolate into the whites. It will lose volume, but if you can do it gently, cutting into the mixture, rather than stirring, the mousse should retain its lightness.
Spoon the mousse into whatever serving dishes you will use, and refrigerate to set for an hour or more.