Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours
Dietary guidance: v
1 egg per person
30 grams of good chocolate per person
Firstly, you need to make a few people's worth extra - so if you are having 10 people around, make 12 peoples worth of mouse - the last few you pour out are always really more liquid chocolate than mousse...
Firstly, chill the cups you are going to be serving it in in the freezer. Nothing makes fresh mousse happier than being poured into a nice cold vessel.
Put the chocolate into a double boiler (you know, bowl over a pot of just simmering water, make sure the water isn't actually touching the bottom of the bowl). Best to use a big bowl for this as the egg whites go into this bowl later, and egg whites like space. Break up the chocolate and leave it while you break a few eggs. It's actually best if you turn the element off under the double boiler, the heat of the water should be enough, and if any steam or water gets into the chocolate it makes the chocolate grumpy - it goes all stiff and hard to work with.
Separate the eggs, keeping the yolks aside, and beat the whites until they are holding peaks happily. You'll have to use a bit of judgement here...
Give the chocolate a final stir with a metal knife to make sure it's all melted.
Stir in the egg yolks a few at a time, making sure one lot is completely mixed in before you add the next. If you are going to add a dash of liquer now's the time. Cointreau, Rum, you know...
Next gently fold the whites into the chocolate. Rather than dumping all the whites in in one hit, it's a good idea to fold in a couple of spoons worth so the chocolate gets used to sharing the bowl with something else. A little chocolate/egg foreplay if you will. Once the chocolate is happy in the company of the egg, feel free to get going with folding the rest of the whites into the chocolate. Unless you've been extremely diligent with beating the whites there will be some unbeaten egg in the bowl. Best this doesn't make it into the mousse.
Fold gently with a knife until the white is completely integrated with the chocolate. Revel in the fact that this is as close as you may ever get to knowing how Nelson Mandela feels. Well apart from the 27 years in prison etc.
Pour (gently) or ladle (messy) the mousse into the chilled serving dishes, and put in the fridge to set for a couple of hours - maybe 4 to be safe. This will take longer if you haven't chilled the dishes. Not that anyone really minds mousse that isn't completely set. The last couple will probably be less mousse than chocolate sauce. It's got the most booze in it though, I usually set it anyway and eat it later....