30 minutes, plus time to chill
Once thought of as the most elegant of desserts, this ultra-rich chocolate pudding is still a real winner. It’s blazing quick to make—I’ve prepared it after dinner and still served it before my guests left. Once the chocolate is melted, the cooking is over; the mousse just sits until it sets up. You can spike it with rum, coffee, or other flavorings, but I like it simple—it’s the intensity of the chocolate that makes it special.
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces chocolate, chopped
3 eggs, separated
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ⁄ 4 cup sugar
1 ⁄ 2 cup cream
1. Fill a small or medium saucepan about halfway with water and put over high heat. Find a bowl that sits comfortably in the pot so the bottom just touches the water (or is close). When the water comes to a boil, lower the heat so it bubbles gently. Put the butter and chocolate in the bowl and set it in the saucepan to rig a double boiler.
2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove it from the heat and stir the mixture until it’s completely smooth. Let it cool until you can hold the bowl, then whisk in the egg yolks and the vanilla.
3. Put the egg whites and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture holds stiff peaks, 30 to 45 seconds. Wash the beaters; put the cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a separate, smaller mixing bowl and beat with the electric mixer until the cream holds soft peaks, 20 to 30 seconds.
4. Stir a couple of spoonfuls of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites thoroughly but gently with a rubber spatula. Fold
in the cream just enough so that there are no streaks of white, then refrigerate until chilled. Eat within a day; to serve, transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or individual cups.