Y’all, I don’t know where this recipe came from. My husband and I have a fat three-ring binder with recipes we’ve cut out of magazines and copied from friends and family. And I was going through the desserts in that binder, looking for one that had no flour, no dairy, and very little sugar.

And I found a scrap of paper printed with purple ditto ink. MOUSSE AU CHOCOLAT it says on the top. It’s a recipe that has no flour, no milk, no cream, no butter. Just a bit of sugar. It looked wonderful! I asked my husband where he’d gotten it from, and he said he’d never seen it before. Nor had I. Maybe a house elf put it there?

Wherever it came from, I decided I had to try it.

The first time I made it, I followed the directions exactly. It was wonderful. But I wanted to use less sugar. There’s sugar in the chocolate, right? Maybe the mousse would be sweet enough without any extra sugar.

And it was! But the texture was wrong. (Not so wrong that I wouldn’t eat it, mind you. It was a little weird, but delicious.)

The next time I made it, I used a quarter cup of sugar. And then, just because I wanted to, I added some vanilla. Because anything made with chocolate is better with a splash of vanilla.

Oh, my goodness, it was wonderful.

Dairy-free Chocolate Mousse

Here’s my recipe, with thanks to the unknown writer of the mimeographed original.


6 oz 70% dark chocolate, broken or chopped into small chunks
6 eggs, separated
¼ cup sugar
½ Tbsp vanilla extract


Separate the eggs.

Get out a saucepan and a glass bowl that will fit nicely into the top of the saucepan without touching the bottom. Or a double boiler, if you have one.

Put a half inch or so of water in the pan, and put the bowl on the pan. The water must not touch the bottom of the bowl.

Bring the water in the pan to a simmer. Then put the chocolate in the bowl. Stir occasionally with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon.

While the chocolate is melting, lightly beat the egg yolks. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they are stiff.

When the chocolate is melted and completely smooth, take the pan off the heat, and take the bowl off the pan. Whisk in the egg yolks, then the sugar and vanilla.

Fold the egg whites gently into the chocolate mixture. Keep folding until the whites are thoroughly incorporated into the chocolate mixture. You might think you’ve over-mixed. It will be okay.

Pour the mixture into a large bowl, or into 6 individual serving dishes. Chill for several hours or overnight.

Serve with smashed raspberries or sliced strawberries.

Read More

Cookies and desserts for special diets and special occasions: Special days call for special treats. Here are some of my favorites, including a selection that work if you’re on a gluten-free, dairy-free or anti-inflammatory diet.

Easy Fudge Recipe: This is cheater fudge. You don’t need a candy thermometer. You can’t mess it up. I’ve got two versions of the recipe; one of the versions is dairy free. You’ve got to try it.

St. Catherine’s Day Chocolate Cake: This Lenten chocolate cake is absolutely perfect for St. Catherine’s Day.

Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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