This indulgent dark Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse has a luscious, creamy mouthfeel, and it is egg free. Top it with spiced kumquat confit or pomegranate arils, and a dollop of whipped cream (only the real stuff please!). It's a spectacular special occasion or Christmas dessert that will surely wow your guests!
Moderation in all things — including moderation.~~ Benjamin Franklin
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Calorie-Rich Desserts and Choosing the Right Chocolate
We practice "moderation in all things" at Andersen casa. While we eat healthy, un-processed, vegetable-centric food ninety percent of the time, we do relish an occasional decadent dessert. I feel like every calorie has to count when consuming so many at one sitting. With this approach in mind, I started working on this chocolate mascarpone mousse. The mousse definitely has calories!🙃
Being the dark chocolate lover that I am, I decided to go with a very dark, bittersweet chocolate (74%) that I've used often in cooking in recipes like this Mexican chocolate ice cream and these chocolate covered goldenberries. I always use a good quality baking chocolate that has no stabilizers (no chocolate chips), and contains cocoa butter (for better melting and consistency) rather than vegetable oil (yuck!). For more information see The Difference Between Good Chocolate and Bad Chocolate, and Are You Baking with the Right Type of Chocolate?
I do feel it is important to mention that good chocolate mousse requires patience and practice. I don't make it often, but I have been successful. My Mexican chocolate mousse is one of my most popular holiday recipes.
📋 Ingredients for Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- chocolate - My "go to" chocolate for desserts is Guittard 74% dark chocolate wafers.
- heavy whipping cream - Use heavy whipping cream for your mousse. Yes, it's high in fats and calories, but the mouthfeel!
- mascarpone cheese - Mascarpone cheese is a double or triple Italian cream cheese. It is an essential ingredient in this mascarpone mousse, but you can substitute cream cheese if you must.
- sugar - I use plain old granulated sugar, and I can't speak to whether another sugar (such as turbinado) will work.
- orange bitters - Orange bitters are optional. Feel free to omit them, or substitute with orange extract or orange liqueur.
- toppings - This luscious dessert stands alone with just a dollop of reserved whipped cream. On photo day, I topped the mascarpone mousse with a spoonful of my spiced kumquat confit - fresh kumquats simmered about 15 minutes in simple syrup with cinnamon, cloves, and fresh ginger. It's scrumptious! It's lovely with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkling of pomegranate arils, and a few shavings of dark chocolate. This takes only a minute or two. You might also serve it with candied oranges or a chiffonade of fresh mint or basil.
- Melt the chocolate - Using a double-boiler, gently melt the chocolate. Melt the chocolate and leave it to cool but not to solidify. When thoroughly melted, add the bitters if using. Allow mixture to cool slightly (but not to solidify) before tempering it with the cream and mascarpone mixture. If it cools until it's too thick to fold in the cream, gently reheat.
- NOTE: Do not follow my example with a makeshift double-boiler. It was very difficult to work with. Your bowl needs to sit securely on top of the pan of simmering water. I was thinking "bain marie," which I do when I make flan. This is the double-boiler I'm getting before the next time!
- Whip the cream - Add the full 1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream and sugar to a mixing bowl. Continue mixing until soft but obvious peaks form. Set aside about ½ cup to top the mousse later.
- Add the mascarpone cheese - Add the softened mascarpone to the whipped cream. Mix on low speed until it is combined. It will be quite thick.
- Temper the chocolate - Gently fold in mascarpone cream a scoop at a time, and continue folding until mixture is smooth. I intentionally used a rough photo to show how the cold mascarpone cream affects the chocolate initially.
- Finish the mousse - When the chocolate mascarpone cream is smooth, fold it into the bowl with the remainder of the mascarpone cream. Be gentle as you work it.
- Serve - Either serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve. As it chills, it will get more firm (almost like ice cream). If you want it softer, bring it to room temperature. The process of tempering the chocolate will keep it firm even as it comes to room temperature.
What is the best kind of chocolate to use for mousse?
I prefer baking chocolate wafers to chocolate chips in this recipe because chips contain stabilizers (so they keep their shape), and don't melt as well. Use a good quality chocolate that you would enjoy out of hand. It doesn't have to be an artisan bar, but don't use a cheap candy bar.
What is a bain-marie or double-boiler?
A bain-marie is a fancy name for a hot water bath. Another setup that sometimes goes by the name of bain-marie is really a double boiler. A double boiler includes both a pot of hot water simmering on the stove, and a bowl or another pan above the pot of boiling water. Usually, a double boiler is used for transmitting gentle heat, like when melting chocolate for this mousse, or making a hollandaise sauce. On photo day, I had to improvise with a glass bowl in a saucepan, and it was not the best solution. Try to find a bowl that sits atop the pan with the simmering water. I plan to order this double-boiler before I need one again!
What is mascarpone cheese?
Mascarpone cheese is a double or triple Italian cream cheese best known for its presence in tiramisu. It is an essential ingredient in this mascarpone mousse, but you can substitute cream cheese if you must.
Combining ingredients works best if you bring them to the same temperature... ideally this would be room temperature. Otherwise, the mixture may split. If it does, all is not lost. Get a whisk, and whisk it vigorously!
See Professional Secrets Chocolate Mousse for more helpful tips.
If your chocolate gets thick before folding in (tempering) the cream, return it to the double-boiler, and melt it again.
Make sure your mascarpone cheese is at room temperature to facilitate mixing with the whipped cream.
Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
- 8 ounces dark chocolate - see Ingredients in post
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 8 ounces mascarpone
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange bitters - or orange liqueur (optional)
- Using a double-boiler, gently melt the chocolate. Add the bitters if using. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
- Add the full 1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream and sugar to a mixing bowl. Continue mixing until soft but obvious peaks form. Set aside about ½ cup to top the mousse later.
- Add the softened mascarpone to the whipped cream. Mix on low speed until it is combined.
- Gently fold in mascarpone cream a scoop at a time to the cooled chocolate, and continue folding until mixture is smooth.
- When the chocolate mascarpone cream is smooth, fold it into the bowl with the remainder of the mascarpone cream. Be gentle as you work it.
- Garnish as desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
🍨 Favorite Holiday Desserts
While these special desserts require extra time and effort, I think you'll agree, they're worth it!