Most chocolate mousses are very caloric, but it's quite easy to make a delicious chocolate mousse that contains a fraction of the calories and fat of other ones. The secret is to use high-quality bittersweet chocolate. It packs a strong, lively chocolate flavor and makes up for the fact that the mousse doesn't have a quart of whipped cream in it.

Makes about six 1/2-cup servings

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup sweet liqueur such as Chambord or Triple Sec
1 cup fat free milk
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs
4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 large egg whites
Large pinch of salt

Six stem glasses or ramekins for serving the mousse

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin on the liqueur in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine the milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan and whisk to mix. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a small bowl. When the milk boils, whisk about a third of the milk into the eggs. Return the remaining milk to a boil over low heat, then whisk in the egg mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens slightly. Don't let it boil or the eggs will scramble. Off heat, quickly whisk in the gelatin.
  4. Whisk in the chocolate and continue whisking until the chocolate is melted and the cream is smooth. Scrape it into a medium bowl and cool it to room temperature.
  5. To make the meringue, half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Regulate the heat so that the water continues simmering with movement, but isn't boiling violently. Combine the egg whites, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk by hand just to mix. Place the bowl over the pan of water and whisk gently until the egg whites are hot (140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer) and the sugar is dissolved. Place the bowl on the mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until the meringue is cooled (it doesn't have to come all the way down to room temperature) and increased in volume.
  6. Fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture.
  7. Divide the mousse among the prepared glasses and refrigerate until set, about 3 or 4 hours.

Serving: You can decorate it with a few berries or some chocolate shavings.

Storage: You may prepare the mousse the day before, just cover the mousse with plastic wrap if it needs to stay in the refrigerator any more than a few hours after you prepare it.