Julia Child’s chocolate mousse

It probably won’t surprise you to find that we adore Julia Child in this house.

(Those of you who have been watching our videos might have spotted the new photo in our kitchen — Julia Child in her tv set kitchen, reaching for a whole fish, which is in the hands of a tech guy crouched in the refrigerator, out of sight line of the camera. It makes us laugh, every time.)

It’s almost a cliché at this point, isn’t it? Who doesn’t love Julia Child?

Well, she worked for years and years on Mastering the Art of French Cooking, with very few people hearing of her work. It wasn’t until decades later, after many episodes of that television show, that she became iconic. Slowly, with an indefatigable spirit and an incredible palate (and probably a massive amount of laughter), she changed the way Americans cooked.

This year, Julia Child would have been 100 years old. To celebrate her birthday, Random House set up a group called the JC100. They asked a number of us food writers and bloggers if we wanted to make some of Julia’s recipes, share them on our sites, and remind you of her greatness. And how!

To celebrate, Danny made Julia Child’s chocolate mousse. Take a look.

We also want to celebrate the incredible talents of our friends Deb and Rod, who keep the site Smith Bites. They are storytellers, photographers, videographers, and a couple madly in love with each other. (Take a look at their portfolio here.) We had such an incredible time with them in Santa Fe, at the Cook ‘n Scribble writing retreat, that we decided to find a way to work together. Our little videos here are well-meaning but pretty imperfect. Deb and Rod are taking our raw, goofy footage and turning it into something great. We’re so grateful to them for this work.

JULIA CHILD’S CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, excerpted from Mastering the art of French Cooking 50th Anniversary by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

This is Julia’s recipe. Not ours. We’re reprinting it here as a means of celebrating the extraordinary Ms. Child, thanks to the work of the JC100

There are only a few small differences. 1) We used a ginger simple syrup instead of the Grand Marnier. We don’t drink so there was no point in having alcohol in the house or the mousse. 2) Danny put the ginger syrup in with the chocolate instead of the eggs. Other than that, this is our tribute to the genius that was Julia Child. 

4 egg yolks
3/4 cup fine white sugar
1/4 cup orange liqueur (we used ginger simple syrup to avoid the alcohol)
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
4 tablespoons strong hot coffee
6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fine white sugar

Beat the eggs yolks and sugar together until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and falls back upon itself, forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Beat in the orange liqueur. Then set mixing bowl over not-quite-simmering water and continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is foamy and too hot for your finger. Then beat over cold water for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms the ribbon. It will have the consistency of mayonnaise.

Melt chocolate with coffee over hot water. Remove from heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time, to make a smooth cream. Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and sugar.

Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Fir one fourth of the eggs whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest.

Turn into serving dish, dessert cups, or petits pots. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.


32 comments on “Julia Child’s chocolate mousse

  1. lis0r

    I’m interested to hear that you don’t drink – I tend not to myself. One of the things I’ve never found an adequate substitute for is wine – sauces just don’t taste the same without it. Thankfully, this normally means our wine needs are met by party guests bringing bottles of wine as gifts, but I’d still rather do without if possible. I’d certainly be interested in learning more about how you do without!

    1. Cari

      Try using a really nice balsamic or other interesting vinegar as a substitute. It is hard and your right, it isn’t the same. I find really reducing helps! If you start with a homemade stock and reduce the dickens out of it and add a splash of balsamic you will end up with a flavorful sauce. Depending on your reason for not drinking you might consider a non alcoholic wine for cooking.

  2. Heda

    Really enjoyed the video. Good content; good confident, relaxed presentation; good pace; and good editing. And I loved the ending! Thank you.

  3. Paula

    Deb and Rod did create a wonderful video and your Danny created a beautiful mousse (and a not too shabby impersonation of Julia Child 🙂 Love the final scene…very cute.

  4. erika

    I love the ginger syrup substitution. What a unique idea. I might have to celebrate a very happy un-birthday as an excuse to try this recipe!

  5. Rebecca H

    I make all my omelets per Julia Child’s method. We call them our “French Omelets” to differentiate them from other ways of making them. Due to her directions, and her book, I can turn out omelets, usually with cheese in the middle and chopped parsley and paprika on the top, in about 2 minutes each. I have taught my grandchildren this method, so they have a skill that will go with them the rest of their lives. Her omelet method is the best I have ever had. They are so creamy and good, never over-cooked! Love Julia Child!

  6. Cari

    Really nice video! I love the syrup substitution. It is always tricky to find ways around alcohol when cooking. I have made this same mousse using an orange syrup that worked really well. You could also do raspberry or cherry. so many options to the typical alcohol additions.

  7. Terry

    But I LOVE your well meaning but imperfect videos. Part of their charm is the comments you make to each other!

      1. Kate @ eatrecyclerepeat

        I agree! I love the new music and the cute little tableau at the table with Lu. But one of my favorite parts of your videos is the interaction between you and Danny. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    Five seconds in and I’m already smiling. Great job to all participants!

    I’m going to tackle the Coq au Vin for this week. I’ve (quite literally) got some old hens that need the bath in red wine.

  9. Gal Gone Gluten Free

    I wish I was you…. My hubby cooks himself Beefaroni and orders pizza from Papa John’s and that’s about the extent of his time in the kitchen! Maybe he’ll let me video him opening the can sometime… 🙂

  10. wendy

    This is great! I don’t have her books yet but I am saving for them!
    We have a tendancy to not drink as well, but when someting calls for a certain flavor we turn to Le Monin syrups. So many flavors so little time. And if you buy them online they cost a lot less. ^_^

  11. Eileen

    Wow- much improved on the video & sound quality! Now I can understand everything & really follow along. :^)

    Great job on the mousse & love the ginger syrup idea. Is there a method here for the ginger syrup? I seem to remember it being a byproduct of candied ginger somewhere in your postings but can’t find either among your recipes. It’d be so great to also have the recipe list back!

    As for the wine, we’ve recently been using alcohol-free wines for risotto & a couple of other cooked dishes with good success. So long as the amount in a serving is small & I have it infrequently it doesn’t seem to trigger a migraine. For something like this I use the double strength flavorings from King Arthur Flour or a flavored syrup. Learning to make my own is high on my list because they’re pretty expensive to buy & I know they’re easy to make- just have to have time & brainspace to get it going. [sigh]

  12. April

    I love the improved video and sound quality, but I missed your voice from behind the camera. I think it adds something and makes your recipe videos different (in a good way) (:

  13. Heather

    Wow, I truly do not know where to begin. You have helped me so much in my gf walk. Today my husband and I landed in Seattle for our honeymoon. In many ways what I have learned about food and gf has lead to us coming here and i wanted to thank you for being my inspiration to quit killing myself with gluten and start living. If you have any where you think we should go or places to eat please tell me. By the way I love Julia and her potato leek soup is to die for yummy.

  14. Joss

    I am new to gluten free living, 3 weeks new. So I have been doing a lot of researching and reading about ways to maximize my eating and still being able to enjoy food the way I always have. Three weeks in and I am already feeling like a new person. I want to say thank you for your work and providing interesting recipes (and videos). You are helping to make the transition way less intimidating =)

  15. Lisa

    Looks very tasty! I like the ginger syrup substitution- I’m sure that gives it a unique little kick. I’ll have to give it a try one of these days.

  16. AngAK

    a question about the recipe: when adding the egg whites you have “Fir one fourth “, would that be “stir” in one fourth?

  17. Nashira

    Great job!! : ) My two kids are allergic to dairy, can I use coconut oil or shortening instead of butter? thanks.

  18. AllergEase

    Most of our customers are gluten free and we are always looking for some new great recipes to link our customers to. We love heading over here to the glutenfreegirl and checking out the latest recipes! Thanks again girl!

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