This decadent chocolate mousse is a great recipe for the holidays. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

You’re probably going to need at least one speedy dessert fancy enough for a special occasion in the next couple of weeks. And if not now, save this blender mousse for another time.

Blender mousse recipes have been around for quite a few decades. This recipe, which has leaked into some family recipe collections, came from Jean Hewitt, an early food writer for the New York Times back in the late 1900s.

Lots of us grew up on chocolate puddings. Sometimes the instant ones were made merely by whipping up the packaged contents with milk, like the ones I remember at our house. Sometimes they were homemade, cooked cornstarch ones that make a delightful skin on top. Mousse, on the other hand, seemed to be part of the gourmet movement of my early adulthood, but with blenders an increasingly common piece of household equipment, it was pretty beguiling to knock together a sophisticated dish using one. Oh, so easy.

Use the best chocolate chips you can afford. Like many things in the grocery stores lately, chocolate chips are subject to manufacturers’ reformulation to keep their costs down, and some may not melt as smoothly as before. You can also opt for well-chopped bar chocolate as long as you have the requisite 16 ounces, which measures out to close to 2 1/2 cups.

Allowing the gelatin to bloom is key. That means putting the gelatin in cold milk until it softens before adding the hot milk. That way you can be assured it melts entirely in the blender.

When you add the hot milk, and then the egg, sugar and chocolate, pay attention to the temperature. A powerful blender will power through the chocolate pretty quickly, but your mixture may cool too much to melt the chips. You may wish to reheat the mixture by microwaving it briefly or heating it in a pan on the stove until the chocolate fragments soften.

Dark rum adds a lovely flavor to this mousse. You’ll probably want to serve it with whipped cream, which you can sweeten and flavor with a little vanilla extract, about one teaspoon to a cup of heavy cream.

When the mousse sets up, it is quite firm. If you wish a creamier version, whip until quite stiff one cup of heavy cream, sweetened with a couple tablespoons of confectioners sugar, and fold into the cool but not yet solid chocolate mixture, then spoon it into the glasses to firm up.

Serving it in wine glasses, or stemmed dessert dishes turns it into holiday fare. Otherwise, enjoy spoonsful straight out the blender.

Chocolate Rum Blender Mousse

Serves six to eight, depending on portion size.

¼ cup cold whole milk
1 envelope or 2 ¼ to 2½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
4-6 tablespoons dark rum, to taste
1 large egg
¼ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk, heated to boiling
16 ounces or 2 ½ cups semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup heavy cream

Put the cold milk and gelatin in a blender. Let stand for five minutes, then cover and blend at low until the gelatin is dissolved.

Meanwhile, put the milk on to heat, bringing it to a boil, then remove from the heat.

Add the rum, egg, sugar and salt to the cold milk mixture in the blender and blend on high until thoroughly mixed.

Add the boiling milk to the blender and then the chocolate pieces, blending until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

If the mixture cools enough that the chips do not dissolve, put over heat to warm it enough that they melt, or heat it briefly in the microwave.

Add one cup of the cream and blend again.

Spoon into desert glasses and chill.

Serve with whipped cream, sweetened if desired with vanilla extract added.

Avatar photo

Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...