Vegan chocolate mousse recipe via Hervé, Blumenthal and James

Family and friends are coming over the holidays and after a hearty vegan winter roast I wanted a dessert which is intense and stimulating but dinky – just 6-8 mouthfuls is what I’m after.

James‘ surprising Great British Bakeoff chocolate mousse recipe, Blumenthal and ultimately the molecular gastronomer Hervé reveal how to make a 2-ingredient mousse by adding hot water to melted chocolate and then cooling rapidly while whisking.


  • small saucepan containing enough hot water for hot bain-marie.
  • a smallish mixing bowl for melting then cooling the chocolate-water (metal quickly conducts heat and cold, pyrex may be second-best).
  • larger bowl with ice and a little water for chilled bain-marie.
  • hand whisk for aerating and combining chocolate-water
  • spoon for getting mousse in pots
  • spatula for getting mousse off spoon
  • pots – tiny bowls or shot glasses (ramekins probably too big – they’d amount to eating half a large bar of chocolate)

Ingredients (serves 12 in small pots containing about 6 mouthfuls).

This is where it gets slightly pedantic. You see I have precision scales and the nice thing about this recipe is that if things don’t work out all you have to do is melt the chocolate-water again and add one or the other ingredient to it. So the following is indicative.

  • 350g chocolate (in this case the 85% Ghanaian because the Cooperative have decided to contaminate their other dark chocolates with butter oil – next week on my way home I’ll go to Spitalfields organic and get some Divine – some plain, some ginger and orange). He also sells this Organica white bar I’m partial to, or the Plamil white I’m only slightly less partial to – don’t see why either of these shouldn’t work).
  • 270ml boiling water according to Heston’s recipe, but for me the mixture rapidly developed a truffley rather than moussey consistency and I ended up having to re-melt it and add a total of 390ml liquid – comprising a further 80ml water and 40ml rum. I bet these amounts differ depending on the proportion of cocoa solids in the chocolate so next time I’ll start with less water and re-melt to add more as necessary.


  1. Have the pots, spoon and spatula and cold bain-marie ready close by.
  2. Put the chocolate in the metal bowl melt over the saucepan of water on a low heat.
  3. Whisk in the hot water.
  4. Transfer the metal bowl onto the cold bain-marie.
  5. Whisk vigorously, paying attention to the mixture coating the sides of the bowl, since this will solidify unless mixed in.
  6. When the mixture stands in soft peaks, quickly transfer to the pots.
  7. Chill.


  • If the thickening happens too quickly, remove the metal bowl from the cold bain-marie and continue to whisk.
  • Or if the mixture becomes too thick, return the metal bowl to the hot bain-marie, remelt the chocolate-water and carefully add a small and determinate amount of liquid, whisk this in, then return to the cold bain-marie. Repeat as necessary until the consistency is right.
  • Or if the mixture won’t thicken, return to the hot bain-marie and add a small and determinate amount of chocolate, melt, then return to the cold bain-marie. Repeat as necessary until the consistency is right.