The JC100: Mousseline au Chocolat

JC 100 Julie ChildI have a lot to celebrate this week including Mother’s Day, my Mom’s birthday, my parents’ anniversary – and Week 2 of the JC100 celebration! With so many events taking place within a few days of each other, I was feeling a little nervous on Monday morning waiting to see which recipe the esteemed JC100 panel had chosen for us to prepare. What if it were Julia’s formidable Pâte de Cunard en Croûte? How would I ever fit that into my schedule? Much to my relief, this week’s special assignment is Julia’s recipe for Mousseline au Chocolat.

Julia Child's Mouselline au Chocolat

“It has such a lovely flavour and texture that it brings tears to your eyes when you taste it. It’s that good.”

~ Julia Child in “The French Chef, Mousse au Chocolate”


Mousseline au Chocolat {Chocolate Mousse – a cold dessert}

†Excerpted from Mastering the art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright ©1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Makes about 5 cups, serving 6 to 8 people

  • A 3-quart porcelain or stainless steel mixing bowl
  • A wire whip or electric beater
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup instant sugar (very finely granulated)
  • ¼ cup orange liqueur
  • A pan of not-quite-simmering water
  • A basin of cold water

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and falls back upon itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Beat in the orange liqueur. Then set mixing bowl over the not-quite-simmering water and continue beating for 3 to 4  minutes the mixture is foamy and too hot for your finger. Then beat over cold water for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms the ribbon. It will have the consistency of mayonnaise.

  • 6 ounces or squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 4 Tb strong coffee
  • 6 ounces or 1 ½ sticks softened unsalted butter
  • A small saucepan
  • Optional: ¼cup finely diced, glazed orange peel

Melt chocolate with coffee over hot water. Remove from heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time to make a smooth cream. Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and sugar, then beat in the optional orange peel.

  • 4 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tb granulated sugar

Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest.

Turn into serving dish, dessert cups, or petits pots. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  • 2 cups vanilla-flavored crème anglaise (custard sauce), or lightly whipped cream sweetened with powdered sugar

Pass the sauce or whipped cream separately.


Turn the preceding mousse into a lightly oiled, 6-cup ring  hold. Cover with oiled, waxed paper. Chill for 3 to 4 hours until well set. Remove paper, dip mold for 1 second in very hot water, and unmold on a chilled serving dish. Fill centre of mousse with crème anglaise or lightly whipped creamed.

Or use the charlotte Malakoff system, lining a cylindrical mold with ladyfingers dipped in orange liqueur.

When I was in Paris last October I fell madly in love with a very charming charlotte pan. I first spotted it, with its shiny heart-shaped handles, when I was shopping for souvenirs at E. Dehillerin and I was completely smitten. But there was no way I could have squeezed it into my suitcases. Still, I never forgot it and the moment I read the last paragraph of Julia’s Mousseline au Chocolat recipe I knew I was making a molded mousse. And I knew I was making it in a charlotte pan. Lucky for me, I found one here in Kelowna at The Chef’s Edge. They only had one charlotte pan in stock and it had a 7-cup capacity (the recipe specifies a 6-cup mold) but I bought it anyway. That’s how infatuated I was with the idea of making a charlotte.

Mis en place for moulded chocolate mousse

  • Julia’s recipe calls for ¾ cup instant sugar (very finely granulated). I wasn’t sure what instant sugar is so I used extra fine granulated berry sugar.
  • It also calls for ¼ cup orange liqueur with an extra ¼ cup finely diced, glazed orange peel. I substituted ¼ cup of orange marmalade instead.
  • I used 1 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in ¼ cup hot water to make 4 tbsp strong coffee.

step by step photos for how to assemble a charlotte

To assemble the dessert:

  • Place the prepared mousse in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so that it can set up a bit before it goes into the mold.
  • While the mousse is chilling, lightly oil the pan.
  • Tear off a piece of waxed paper 16 inches long. Fold it in half and then in half again. Fit this strip down inside the contour of the pan, leaving a few inches of overhang on both sides.
  • Trace the bottom of the charlotte pan on a piece of stiff cardboard. Cut out the circle and fit it into the bottom of the pan.
  • Cut another circle of waxed paper, and place it inside the pan, on top of the circle of cardboard.
  • Add just enough chilled mousse to cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Arrange the ladyfingers so that they overlap each other just slightly.
  • Add the rest of the mousse. Tap the pan lightly on the counter so that the mousse will settle. Try to resist licking your “impeccably clean fingers”.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours.
  • If you used a 7-cup pan like I did, you will need to use a sharp knife to trim off the top of the ladyfingers (above the mousse). If you used a 6-cup pan like the recipe suggests, you’ll need to cut off the top of the ladyfingers that will be jutting above the edge of the pan.
  • Dip the pan into a basin of hot water for 10 seconds. Lift gently on the strips of waxed paper on both sides to ensure the dessert is completely free from the pan.
  • As Julia says, “it’s always a rather tense moment” so take a deep breath, then invert the pan on a plate.

chocolate decorations on top of mousseline au chocolat

Decorate however you like.  I used candied orange zest and chocolate shards.

Candied Orange Zest

To make candied orange zest, cut the rind from 2 oranges using a peeler, remove any attached pith, cut into thin strips, and blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse, and repeat for a total of 3 times. Mix ¼ cup sugar and 1 tbsp water in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Add the blanched orange peel and simmer until sugar caramelizes and the peel looks translucent. Remove strands of orange peel with a fork and drain them on a wire rack set over waxed paper.

making white and dark chocolate shards

To make white and dark chocolate shards, à la Jackson Pollock, melt 2 ounces Baker’s chocolate over hot water. Spoon it into a pastry bag or small Ziploc bag with one corner cut open. Drizzle swirls on a sheet of acetate, then let it set. Melt 6 ounces white chocolate over hot water. Pour over the dark chocolate swirls and spread with an off-set spatula. Place in the freezer. Once set, break off shards.

Et voilà!

Frozen Chocolate Mousse

Julia’s Mousseline au Chocolat is worthy of a special occasion…and I just happen to have one in mind.  Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

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  1. Sounds & looks so good. Wish I could have one each day of the week!

    • Thanks Mary! The coffee flavour is really prominent so its like eating a frozen cafe mocha. :-)

  2. Laura, your parents are very fortunate to have a cook for a daughter. I would be rapt if one of my sons made this for me. You’ve made a very special effort for this chocolate mousse. I make mine with Toblerone (pretty easy). Now I need to try the Julia Child version.

    • Hi Trish,

      Your version with Toblerone sounds great. I image the little bits of nougat add a nice crunchy/chewy texture. I was quite nervous when it was time to un-mold mine, but it came out beautifully. Much better than I expected :-)

      For me, the hard work really starts when the cooking ends. I’ve signed up for a photography course next week that I hope will help me get more comfortable with my camera.

      Thanks so much!

  3. Fabulous mousse! Love the way you did it. When I do my blog post I will direct my readers to your site to enjoy your dessert! Have a great day!

    • Hi Helene, I can’t wait to see your version of Julia’s recipe. If it’s anything like your rolled omelette, it will be spectacular! Thanks very much for stopping by.

  4. I’m impressed you went the molded route! It turned out great. My girls and I watched Julia make the mousse and molded version the other night so it’s fun to have seen someone make it since. I bet it tasted fabulous!

    • Thanks Rachel! I watched her too, but then went online to research the charlotte Malakoff method she referred to in the recipe. That’s when I stumbled upon the idea of adding the ‘handles’ to help lift the frozen mousse before un-molding. It gave me a little more confidence before I did the big flip :-)

  5. Nicely done!!! Just like Julia would have made. Thanks for the link back to my site. Cheers, Tara

    • I’m always so inspired by your gorgeous photography! Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you have a happy long weekend :-)

    • Thanks Kristen! It really was delicious, and making it as a frozen dessert gave it a fantastic texture. I didn’t dip the ladyfingers in orange liquor as Julia suggested, but we loved the contrasting crunch they added.

  6. Great change to your website, Laura! What theme are you using? Your dishes look like works of modern art.

    • Thanks Giovanni! I appreciate the feedback. The move to a self-hosted solution was a little scary for me, but I think I have it all sorted out now. This theme is one of the free WordPress themes – Twenty Eleven – but I will probably be upgrading to a premium theme in the near future since I’m still looking for something with a bit more flexibility.

      Hope you’ll be enjoying the sunshine this weekend :-)

  7. Great work you have here those recipes are great :)

    • Thank you Jake! It’s hard to go wrong with one of Julia Child’s recipes :-)

  8. Great looking and I’d love a bite. I wondered what happened to your like button and then read you self host now… Best wishes! :-)

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      It’s a bit strange that I can’t put a ‘like’ button on my blog, yet I can still use the ‘like’ button on other blogs. I guess its not a two-way street. Glad you stopped by.



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