6 Jun 2010

Foolproof chocolate Chantilly, part 3:3. Dark chocolate mousse w/orange

This is the third post on chocolate mousse; pure and clean
containing only chocolate and flavourings. The process is very straightforward, although this dark variety might be the most tricky one among the three published. However, 'tricky' is not really that tricky...

This post is the last on chocolate mousses for now: white-, milk- and dark chocolate. Previous posts are
Refer the two previous ones for discussions on the how's and why's on this way of making chocolate mousse. This time, I'll get to the point right away.

4 portions

(note: below are two alternative recipes depending on what texture is preferred, given by the amount of chocolate. See explanation in the texture section below)

1 dl (100 g) orange juice or water
100 or 150 g dark chocolate (Freia "Dronningsjokolade")
Zest from 1/4 orange (ca. 3-4 g)

Mixer or hand whisk (steel balloon whisk)
Bowl for whisking
Measuring cup or scale/balance (preferably the latter for precise measurements)
Sink with ice/snow (preferably) or cold water
Grater, medium fine
(Bowl/pan of hot water)

Add orange zest to water/juice in metal bowl. Break chocolate in small pieces and add to the mixture. Heat while stirring gently until the chocolate in melted into an even mixture. Using a bath of hot water or gentle microwaving works fine. Move the bowl to the cold sink and start whisking.

If using chocolate:water ratio 1:1 (see texture section below):
The mixture will be very liquid for a long time while whisking, even long after being cooled. However, at a certain point it will suddenly start to take on a lighter colour and become a light foam. This might take longer than expected, so be patient. As soon as the mixture has foamed up and taken the texture of whipped cream, stop whisking. Prolonged whisking might result in
grainy mousse. If so happens, melt and whip again. If the texture is smooth to begin with you're most likely safe and it will stay that way upon storage. Leave the mousse in the fridge for at least 1 hour to stabilise. It is still fine the next morning as well. If it won't firm up at all, melt and add a small mount of chocolate and go for it again.

If using chocolate:water ratio 1.5:1:
This process resembles that of milk chocolate mousse. Stop whisking as soon as the mixture takes a lighter colour and foams up. The result will be somewhat more crumbly (short texture), but is easier to whip.

Tip: if using cold water bath, take care not to splash water from the bath into the chocolate (if so happens you have to start over. If you trust the water from the sink to be safe, you might melt the mixture, add some more chocolate and go for the try-and-fail tactic).

Chocolate and orange is a classical and rather uncontroversial flavour combination. Also, flavour pairing of orange and dark chocolate (for what it is worth) is said to be good. However, orange zest and dark chocolate does not give any matches in this database.

Using orange juice in stead of water results in what I'd call an "orange-chocolate mousse", whereas using water gives a "chocolate-orange mousse". In the former, the orange flavour is somewhat dominating (and slightly acid), in the latter the chocolate dominates. I prefer orange juice because the water-based version has a slightly watery taste to it. It is mainly the aromatic oils in the peel that gives the classical orange aroma, rather than the juice which adds a slight tartness. The amount of zest in the recipegives a marked orange flavour in the mousse. For a more subtle orange flavour, simply use less zest.

This mousse is the least sweet of the three recipes, and works well together with something mild such as whipped cream. Making a chocolate trilogy using white-, milk- and dark chocolate mousse gives a nice combination in which the various mousses balance each other. In my opinion, they don't overpower each other, rather the opposite.

The 1:1-ratio mousse is lighter and more airy than both the white- and milk chocolate mousses. described in part 1. Indeed, using the word chantilly is justified. The 1:1.5-ratio mousse is somewhat drier and shorter texture. Using even higher amounts of chocolate vs water results in a brittle and airy chocolate, almost like a ganache/truffles. Worth a try on its own, really. The
small bits of orange zest play well as a contrast to
the smooth mousse.

Left: liquid-chocolate 1:1 ratio. Right: liquid-chocolate 1:1.5 ratio

Long storage, say more than 12-18 hours, results in the mousse starting to "dry out" along the rim. For storage, collect the mousse in a small heap and cover with plastic.

Although most recipes for chocolate Chantilly ask for chocolate with 55-65% cocoa solids, I've chosen variety for ready availability in Norwegian shops and supermarkets (and what is usually used in Norwegian homes). The variety used here, Freia Dronningsjokolade is a dark chocolate for desserts and cakes with 44% cocoa:

Proteins: 4.7 %
Fat: 28 %
Carbohydrates: 57.5%

Unfortunately, the producer is not willing to give any more information on the ingredients, and the percentage ingredients on the package account for only 90% of the total amount.... Anyhow, the amounts of fat are very similar in the different chocolate varieties. Also, dark chocolate contains about the same total amount of proteins as the white, but the source , and hence type, of proteins is very different. Proteins in white chocolate come from added milk solids, whereas those in the dark chocolate are from the cocoa solids (dark chocolate contains no milk solids). The amount of sugar is comparable to the milk chocolate, but lower than that of white.

The reasons that the chocolate-water mixture does give a smooth mixture is thanks to the cocoa solids (mostly the proteins) and, probably most importantly the added lecithin. Since the amount of sugar is lower compared to white chocolate, this might in part be a reason for the mousse to become lighter (possibly the same reason as when making egg white foams such as meringue). Also, the higher amount of proteins compared to fat might give a lighter foam. Why the dark chocolate gives a lighter mousse than milk chocolate, I'm not certain. However, it might be that the amount of lecithin is different or that the milk solids in fact disrupt the foaming ability rather that promote it (when compared to a pure water-lecithin-fat-air dispersed system).

This specific recipe has been tested at least three times with the same result every time. It seems to be somewhat less reproducible that the tewo other versions and requires a bit more patience (see above). If someone should experience that the recipe does not work as expected I'd be very happy to hear about it. I really want this to be a recipe that can be trusted.


This, H. "Formal descriptions for formulation" Int. J. Pharm. 2007, 344 (1-2), 4-8.

- Hervé This & Pierre Gagnaire: "Le beurre chantilly" (includes chocolate Chantilly)
- Hervé This, INRA page: "Vous avez dit Chocolat Chantilly?"
- Andreas Viestad, Washington post, "The gastronomer": "Like Water for Chocolate"
- Flavour pairing: www.foodpairing.be (to my knowledge, there is no scientific basis for claiming that food with common compounds do taste well together, but the idea is fascinating)


  1. Interesting observations regarding the different chocolate-water ratios - I'll have to think of this the next time I make chocolate chantilly. But I seem to recall that once I made this (with a ratio greater than 1:1, but can't remember exact), the texture started out pretty smooth. I then stopped whipping - and suddenly the mixture stiffend up. So I was just wondering if you also looked at higher c/w ratio combined with shorter whipping and compared this with a 1:1 c:w ratio with longer whipping. Will they produce the same result or not?

  2. I haven't tested short whipping times in a systematic manner. However, apparently long whipping times seem to render the mixture more fluid again. Seems to go through a "stiffer phase", then returning to a more liquid state. Breaking up the emulsion again, perhaps? I'll try it next time I make it and post the results here

  3. Very interesting article.
    I have a question: you specify the ratio as chocolate:water; when you mention a ratio of 1:1.5 do you mean a more watery mixture? Reading the article it seems you mean a more chocolatey mixture.

    Or I'm getting it all wrong?

  4. You're right, this was only a spelling error. It should be chocolate-to-water 1.5:1. It is now corrected. Thanks

  5. Great article Erik.

    I've tried the chocolate mouse a couple of times before I found your article and was technically successful but not overly impressed with the result. As you mentioned, it tends to taste like what it is - watered down chocolate.

    I like your idea with the orange juice though, so i'm looking forward to giving that a try, thanks


  6. Teresa from Portugal11 October, 2012

    Thank you so much for your article, I tested and the texture is amazing!
    To give more structure in the mouth, can we replace the water by skim milk? Does it work?

  7. Teresa: basically the difference between skim milk and water is some amount of protein (to put it simple). I wouldn't expect this amount of protein to make that big a difference. However, fat would most likely do so. Tweaking the recipe by adding a small amount of melted butter to the mix while whisking should affect the mouthfeel. A guess would be to add 5-10% butter vs. chocolate to the hardest/driest version above (1.5:1).


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