The Perfect Valentine’s Day Dessert: Chocolate & Peperoncino Mousse

whatscookingwednesday.jpgIn deciding what to make for a Valentine’s Day-themed What’s Cooking Wednesday, I knew chocolate would have to be involved–it has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, you know, even if it technically isn’t.

But peperoncino, or hot pepper, *is* known to get the romance flowing, and if there’s one thing that isn’t difficult for me to find in Calabria, it’s peperoncino–I’ve even written a tribute to the pods that pack a punch here.

Peperoncini drying in Calabria

So I found this recipe for Mousse di cioccolato e peperoncino and then I found this basic chocolate mousse recipe in English. I went about picking and choosing from the two recipes and came up with what I present here.

It’s *so* good, I’m going to have to make it again for tomorrow night’s dinner. This just may be my new favorite dessert in fact.

If you’ve never had spicy chocolate, let me assure you that you don’t actually taste the hot pepper–it just gives the chocolate an extra zing, something that tickles your tongue after the rich chocolate taste has passed.

And what better gift to yourself for Valentine’s Day than a tickled tongue? And I’ll leave it at that (wink wink).

Chocolate & Peperoncino Mousse

Chocolate & Peperoncino Mousse

  • 1 bar of bittersweet chocolate (100 grams), in pieces
  • 1 espresso-sized cup of espresso
  • 2 teaspoons of ground peperoncino (or however much you can handle)
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream (unsweetened)
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar

1. Put the chocolate and espresso in the top of a double-boiler, or as I did in a small pot, and heat to melt chocolate. Stir until its smooth and add peperoncino. [Note: both of the above-referenced recipes add butter at this point, but I forgot to do so; I didn’t miss it in the final product, but feel free to use your judgment.]

2. Once the chocolate is melted, set it aside to cool a bit, and now whip the cream and set it aside.

3. Beat the egg whites until foamy and then sprinkle in sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

4. Once the chocolate is room temperature, stir in the egg yolks, and then fold in about 1/3 of the whipped cream and half of the egg whites until just mixed and then add the rest of both the cream and egg whites.

5. Put mixture into serving dishes and let chill in the refrigerator overnight or for about 8 hours (up until 24 hours).

6. Before you serve the mousse, add some whipped cream on top and a sprinkling of peperoncino for an extra kick.

Buon appetito!

P.S. If you’re more in the mood for a cake this Valentine’s Day, check out last year’s Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cake (also made with coffee) as well as this Nutella Spice Cake, which also has a kick of peperoncino.

24 Beans of Wisdom to “The Perfect Valentine’s Day Dessert: Chocolate & Peperoncino Mousse”
  1. 02.13.2008

    Oh my! Be still, my beating heart!

    anno’s last blog post..Ellen Gilchrist: The Writing Life

    I hear you Anno πŸ™‚

  2. 02.13.2008

    That. Looks. So. Good. and of course I’m now craving chocolate. Which is never a stretch for me…

    kacey’s last blog post..Softest Sheets in the World

    Hah, I’m craving chocolate and I just ate some of this!

  3. 02.13.2008

    Looks good and will definitely be in the arsenal. I love spicy chocolate but never think to add peppers to my recipe. I posted a recipe for pots de creme au chocolat a couple of days ago that while nice by itself might actually be stellar with a little cayenne pepper added. It is a much denser dessert than a mousse but the recipe is very similar it is just that you don’t beat the cream.
    thanks for the recipe!

    Honestly it didn’t occur to me either to just add a dash (or more) of hot pepper–I think I’ll do it more often from now on πŸ™‚ And if you want a secret, I didn’t really beat the cream as much as directed. Mine is a nice pudding really (shh!) πŸ˜‰

  4. 02.13.2008

    I’ve always been intrigued by the spicy chocolate concept but never taken the plunge. After your post, I think I might finally be ready. Sounds delicious!

    You definitely should try it LJ–it gives such a great kick to the chocolate!

  5. I agree with LJ. I think that is a very interesting combination. Yum.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Ciao! Welcome to Italian bureaucracy.

    I definitely recommend trying it; sounds a bit odd, but it’s *so* good πŸ™‚

  6. Looks like a great recipe! I sometimes add a little chocolate to spicy foods like chili, so why not the other way around? I think I’d love a little spice in my chocolate.

    Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy’s last blog post..Who Needs No-Knead Doughnuts?

    Ooh, I think I may just have to do it the other way around too! Sounds great!

  7. Carla

    Hi Michelle,
    This sounds soooo good.
    Just this year for the first time I tried spicy chocolate and I loved it…it was a chocolate bar “Perugina Nero al peperoncino”.
    Can’t wait to try this!

    Yum! This year is the first I’ve tried it as well, and I’ll be eating a lot more of it I’m sure πŸ˜‰

  8. 02.13.2008

    Not only were we on the same blog wavelength today, but I just came back in before seeing your comment on my blog from going to our local spice shop and buying a cocoa and hot pepper drink mixture! LOL. And yes, that kick is SO good. Well, this is definitely more sinful than mine… but I think i’m going to have to try it!

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday: Jen’s Chocolate Custard

    OK, that is *really* on the same wavelength…thank goodness there’s room enough for the two of us πŸ˜‰

  9. 02.13.2008

    i read “Celebrity Italian Cookbook” as “Italian Celebrity Cookbook” and got all excited, hoping we could clain Natalie ???? ?????? Portman as one of ours. But alas, no. Just another wannabe πŸ˜‰

    I am of the opinion that most of us with Calabrian roots have some Jewish ancestry, but I’m sort of a wannabe…

    Paolo’s last blog post..The triumph of Kultur

    Hah, I read that the same way actually, and got stopped by Debra Messing first. Sorry we won’t be claiming Natalie unless she marries in or something πŸ˜‰

  10. 02.13.2008

    can’t wait to try that……..looks and i bet smells amazing.

    hope you and P have a lovely Vday! we’re treating ourselves to a fancy italian restaurant in town (tonight, so we can beat the vday traffic πŸ™‚

    Eryn’s last blog post..Beautiful, Sunny, sUnNY day πŸ™‚

    Sounds like a great plan Eryn–hope you had a lovely time πŸ™‚

  11. 02.13.2008

    Spicy and chocolate!!! Two of my favorite things together? Oh My…I’ll definitely be making this! Did you know Lindt has a spicy chocolate bar? It’s delicious and like you said, just has that extra “zing” in it. YUM!

    I’m going over to download that cookbook now. Hey, it’s for a good cause!

    Karina’s last blog post..Some business to attend to – A Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

    No I haven’t seen that chocolate bar; I’ll have to tell my mom about it though since I’ve been talking up spicy chocolate for a while now….

  12. Joanne

    wow, great news about the Barilla cookbook. Do you mind if I post that on my blog?

    Not at all Joanne–please do!

  13. 02.13.2008

    Great site updates! Great dessert post too … it sounds delicious, and spicy all at the same time with the mention of peppers in the same post. πŸ™‚

    Kudos. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Bunny, if I may call you that πŸ˜‰

  14. 02.13.2008

    So tempting, I love a bit of spice. This is just the thing to get us all fired up for Valentines night and the spicey, peppery twang negates all the calories, right?

    amanda’s last blog post..Vladimir and the villagers


  15. 02.14.2008

    Absolutely mouth watering.

    I’ll be -right- -over-


    Happy Valentines early!

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Wanderlust Scarlett’s last blog post..Rolling Out The Red Carpet

    No cooking involved Scarlett (melting chocolate doesn’t count) πŸ˜‰ Come on over!

  16. 02.14.2008

    The mousse looks delicious! I like spicy chocolate, but don’t cook it much. I downloaded the cookbook too. thanks for the info. Happy Valentines Day!!

    Diana’s last blog post..One World One Heart Giveaway

    Glad you like the mousse and that you downloaded the cookbook–looks great doesn’t it?

  17. 02.14.2008

    sometimes on ~~what’s cooking wednesday~~
    i pop over here,
    read the fine ingredients,
    look at your stellar photos,
    and think to myself,
    ‘self, you COULD make this
    but you would eat the entire whatever’
    i just turn one of your photos into my screen saver for a day or 2…


    i do!
    right now i am making that yummy looking whipped cream treat
    my screen saver for valentines’ day.

    low-cal food from you in italy JUST FOR ME over here in florida.

    so thanks for that, missy,
    i just love Bloglandia!

    carry on…

    somepinkflowers’s last blog post..waves of love

    I and my mousse are so humbled! I hope you enjoy πŸ™‚

  18. Gil

    That would make for one HOT Valentine’s Day! Funny about peperoncino and chocolate mix as I heard, on 880 news radio from NYC, that a place in Texas is selling chocolate covered chillies.

    We have those here too Gil, as you might imagine πŸ™‚

  19. Lilian

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Chocolate and peperoncino do go very well together, and I’m glad to see you promoting their pairing.

    Promoting it I am! YUM.

  20. anna l'americana

    Just to clarify, then the pepperoncino is not IN the mousse, it is in sprinkled on top?

    Anna, sorry I’m so late responding! The peperoncino should be stirred into the melted chocolate and then some more sprinkled on top to make it pretty (if you like things HOT of course) πŸ™‚

  21. spicy chocolate rules the school! there’s a little coffee shop near my apt. that makes awesome mexican hot chocolate and chocolate-cinnamon scones, yum. and i love the idea of the hot pepper in a mousse, or maybe a pot de creme.

    Michelle @ Us vs. Food’s last blog post..The Welshly Arms is known for its spiced meats, act 2.

    My next adventure will be some spicy hot chocolate. Now if someone would deliver chocolate-cinnamon scones….

  22. 02.15.2008

    I may have licked my monitor.

    Shan’s last blog post..the good ole hockey game

    Hah! I hope yours is less dusty than mine….

  23. 02.12.2011

    The chocolate you brought up with you from Calabria was all fabulous, but my favorite was the one with peperoncino. It was beyond. Beyond I tell you. So this sounds very enticing to me. I must have been in a construction daze three years ago when you posted it originally, because I don’t remember it.

    It’s OK, you’re allowed to have missed posts from back then…I was posting much more often I think and w/o FB and Twitter to publicize, SO much easier to miss things indeed! Hope you like this πŸ™‚

  1. [...] Stir in a bit of ground peperoncino for a spicy effect as I’ve done in my Chocolate & Peperonc...



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake