Some of you will have already come across my post for chocolate mousse made with tofu, which is a very good and easy mousse to make. There is a little more to making the aquafaba version, but it does mimic the non-vegan method for those of you who have ever made one with egg whites. Aquafaba, if you don’t already know, is the water produced from cooking chickpeas. In the canned version it is the water the beans are stored in. When whisked, the water begins to foam and then slowly becomes white and stiff, just like egg whites. Aquafaba can be tricky in the beginning. It certainly didn’t go very well on my first attempt. I discovered the secret in the great book Aquafaba by Zsu Dever. The trick, whether using homemade or canned is to heat the chickpea water first in a pan and reduce it by one third, then allow it to cool before whisking it with cream of tartar. Once I was armed with this knowledge everything went perfectly.
This dish is almost identical to the classic method of making chocolate mousse, in that the chocolate is melted and then folded in with the aquafaba. With the classic way you would mix the egg yolks in with the chocolate before doing this to thicken and enrich them. I do this with vegan margarine and vanilla extract to get as close to an emulsification as possible. Technique here (and, in fact, throughout this recipe) is crucial. Rather than pouring the whole chocolate mix into the aquafaba, it is important to first bring a couple of spoonfuls of the aquafaba to the chocolate and stir that in. This loosens the chocolate to allow for a better amalgamation, without losing all the air from the chickpea water you just spent ten minutes whipping. Once that is done, you then add that mixture to the aquafaba and gently fold it in with a spatula.
A great book on aquafaba if you want further information.
If you haven’t tried this kind of vegan cooking before, please don’t be put off. The sense of achievement when you pull a couple of beautiful and light mousses from the refrigerator is immense, and worth every minute you put into making them.
Prep time: 25 minutes. Chilling time: 2 hours.
For the aquafaba:
- Water from 2 cans chickpeas (about 350ml), strained into a saucepan
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 4 tbsp castor sugar
For the Chocolate mix:
- 150g dark dairy-free chocolate, melted
- 50g vegan margarine, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp castor sugar.
First you want to reduce your chickpea water by one third. Bring the water to the boil in the saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes until you can see that it has reduced in volume by approximately one third (you can do this more accurately by measuring before and after cooking in a measuring jug – you’ll want to lose about 100ml). Allow the water to cool completely. I do this by pouring it into a jug and then putting the jug on iced water to speed up the process.
Once it is cool you can begin making your aquafaba. Pour the chickpea water into a clean mixing bowl (make sure it is free of any grease) and add the cream of tartar. Put your electric whisk on a medium setting and begin whisking the water. Do this for about 4 minutes. The water will first become foamy and then start to whiten and thicken. You need to be patient here if you haven’t done it before, but it will gradually happen. The aquafaba should now be at the soft peak stage, where the peaks you make sink back a little. Now turn the electric whisk up a bit and beat for another 3 minutes, until the peaks are stiffer. At this stage add your sugar and whisk for another 3-5 minutes to get to the stiff peak stage. Peaks will stay where they are, and you’ll be able to turn the bowl upside down without any movement from the aquafaba. Remove the whisk and set aside.
During the whisking process melt your chocolate and margarine so that they are cooled slightly by the time the aquafaba is ready. Mix the chocolate, margarine, sugar and vanilla together until you have a smooth consistency. Now add, a spoonful at a time, one third of the aquafaba to the chocolate mix. Stir until you get a smooth, loose blend. Once this is done, pour the mixture into the remaining aquafaba and fold gently using a large spoon or spatula, until you have a light chocolate foam. Spoon this into your serving dishes and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. To serve, dust with cocoa powder and garnish with a sprig of mint.