- 6 oz. high-quality bittersweet chocolate
- 2 Tbsp. armagnac or cognac
- 2 Tbsp. very strong coffee
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest, optional
- ½ cup California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
Chop or grate the chocolate to make it easier to melt and combine it in the top of a double boiler with the armagnac and coffee. Set it over simmering, but not rapidly boiling, water and let melt thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Once all the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Separate the eggs, setting the whites aside. Using a hand mixer, beat the chocolate while adding the egg yolks, one after the other, beating continuously. Still beating pour in California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil. When all of this is fully amalgamated into a dark, shiny, unctuous mass, beat in the orange zest if using.
Clean and dry the beaters thoroughly and then commence to beat the egg whites, first adding a pinch of salt and later, as the whites mount and firm up, the sugar. Beat until the eggs are very stiff.
Fold about a quarter of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture and when it is thoroughly incorporated continue with the rest of the egg whites, about a fourth at a time, until all the whites have been folded in and no trace of white can be seen. Spoon the mousse into a serving bowl or into six individual ramekins and set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to become totally firm.
The mousse may be kept refrigerated for several days but it should be thoroughly wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent it from picking up other refrigerator odors.
Chef's Note: The mousse is only as good as the chocolate and olive oil that you use. For chocolate, I use Scharffenberger 70% cacao; for the olive oil, I used California Olive Ranch’s Arbequina extra virgin olive oil, an oil that is lightly fruity and slightly bitter, but doesn’t overpower the opulent chocolate flavors.
Recipe courtesy of Nancy Harmon Jenkins