Chocolate Mousse Torte

I’ve adapted this torte from a recipe by Maida Heatter, but I wish I’d invented it myself: it’s such a perfect luscious ending to dinner. Half the mousse is cooked to make a crust and the other half is chilled to form the filling.

Serves 6.

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
¼ cup boiling water
8 large eggs, separated (see note)
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan.

2. Place the chocolate and boiling water in a small mixing bowl and stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool.

3. Place the egg yolks in the bowl of a mixer and beat until lemon colored, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually, while the mixer is running, add the sugar, vanilla, salt, and the cooled chocolate mixture.

4. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer and beat until they form stiff peaks. Gradually fold into the chocolate mixture. Transfer 4 cups to a medium-size mixing bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Place the remaining mousse in a prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 30 minutes. Place the reserved mousse on the mousse in the pie pan and cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: The use of raw eggs carries the risk of salmonella. No recipe using raw eggs should be served to the very young, the very old, or anyone with a compromised immune system.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)