This extra light, foamy mousse is perfect for a buffet when you are also serving other desserts; it adds just the right chocolate note without being overly rich. It is adapted from a recipe in Swiss Confectionery, a publication of the Richemont Craft School in Lucerne. Because this mousse uses gelatin to help it to set, it is better to prepare it the day before you intend to serve it.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts mousse

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup egg white (about 8 large egg whites)
1 cup sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Chocolate shavings for finishing

One 2-quart glass serving bowl (I like the look of clear glass)

  1. Whip the cream until it holds a soft peak and refrigerate while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow to soften for 5 minutes.
  3. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil then lower to a simmer. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and place over the simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until egg whites are hot and the sugar is dissolved—about 3 minutes. Test a little between your thumb and forefinger—if the mixture is gritty, continue to heat until all the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Whisk the softened gelatin into the hot egg whites then use an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment to beat whites until risen in volume, somewhat cooled, and soft and creamy in appearance. Do not overbeat or the meringue will become dry or grainy.
  5. Allow meringue to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally if necessary. When it is cool, whisk about a third of the meringue into the chocolate, then quickly fold the chocolate mixture back into the remaining meringue.
  6. Quickly rewhip the cream if it has separated and fold it into the chocolate mixture. Pour the mousse into the waiting bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, several hours or overnight.
  7. Before serving, decorate with the chocolate shavings.