Impossibly light and airy, this is not the mousse to which I’ve become accustomed as a vegan. Wonderful as the heavy chocolate desserts based on coconut cream or avocado can be, it’s such a novelty to have a mousse that resembles those made with egg-whites. Not to mention it uses only three ingredients, one of which you were probably going to pour down the drain anyway.
The secret: aquafaba. It sounds so much more palatable than ‘bean water’, right? A little application of Latin always makes things better!
Taking the internet by storm, aquafaba is the cooking water from the humble chickpea (or any legume – butter bean and black bean aquafaba works well too). Whether you reserve the water from boiling your own or just use the canning liquid from a tin, it’s the magic behind a host of vegan desserts which were previously tricky or even out of the question. It’s my go-to egg replacer for a fluffy sponge when flax will be too heavy – but I’ve been itching to try something where it really shines rather than takes a supporting role.
Enter, the chocolate mousse. Aquafaba acts like egg-whites when whipped – gaining volume, becoming thick and glossy, and losing the beany smell of its liquid state. This recipe has only 100g of chocolate to nearly double the quantity of aquafaba, and I think that’s about as low as I’d go or it runs the risk of tasting watery. As it is, I found this just the right hit of chocolate for a midweek treat. If preferred, you could certainly add a couple of tablespoons of sugar but I like my chocolate dark and bitter.
A disclaimer is needed here. It’s really important not to skimp on the whipping stage! The mixture is right when you can invert the bowl over your head without risking your hairdo. And I’ll be totally honest: whipping the aquafaba takes time. If you’re lucky enough have a fancy stand mixer it will be easier but I managed soft peaks in around five minutes and stiff peaks in around twenty with nothing more than an ancient electric hand whisk and a sore arm. Some folks around the web have even had success with a manual whisk but personally I suspect they must be in possession of superhuman endurance. I’m in awe.
Once fully whipped, it’s just a matter of folding in some melted chocolate and almond extract – although vanilla would be perfect as well – then chilling overnight to set into a melt-in-the-mouth, light-as-air mousse. Easy! And with no added sugar bar the amount in the dark chocolate it even feels sort of virtuous. For a dessert.
- 190 g aquafaba (the water from 2 cans of chickpeas)
- 100 g dark chocolate (dairy-free)
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 handful raspberries (fresh, frozen or tinned)
Drain two cans of chickpeas and place the liquid in a metal bowl. Whip until it reaches stiff peaks - this will take some time, try to remain patient! It is ready when it becomes white, thick, glossy, and does not move when you tilt the bowl.
Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water - stir occassionally and make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Once melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir in the almond extract.
Slowly and carefully fold the whipped aquafaba into the chocolate with a metal spoon, two tablespoons at a time, until it is all incorporated. The mixture will become slack and lose a lot of volume at this stage.
If using, add the raspberries to the bottom of four glasses. Pour the chocolate mixture over the top.
Refrigerate overnight to set.