Reader Annie, Ph.D., writes:
I have a chocolate mousse recipe that I’m really struggling with and that I so want to master! To melted chocolate I beat in some egg whites that have been whisked to the firm peaks stage before folding in the remainder of the egg whites. The chocolate turns into a thick paste as soon as I start whisking in the egg whites EVERY time! I am then unable to incorporate the egg whites into the chocolate without folding and folding until I have no bubbles left in my mousse. Please help!
Problem understood! That little bit of water (from the whites) is causing the chocolate solids in the recipe to swell, get sticky and clump. The cure for that is more water which creates more syrup and helps the chocolate solids flow again. So you can try stirring more whites to get the mixture to loosen to the point that you can start folding.
However I’d suggest trying a chocolate low in solids (despite what the recipe says) since that will lessen the water absorption and sticking. A really nice European milk chocolate would be perfect, and is normally the basis for a mousse like this. These types of recipes weren’t designed for the sort of dark solid-intensive chocolates that are so fashionable now. Go back to an elegant old-school European milk chocolate and you shouldn’t have a problem!