This espresso mousse is a type of semifreddo, or half-frozen dessert that is found in many Neapolitan
ice cream shops. Small espresso cups are a perfect way of serving this mousse but you can also use
other dessert dishes with about a 1/3-cup capacity. If you prefer not to freeze the mousse, it is also
delicious simply refrigerated and served cold.
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup brewed espresso, or 1 tablespoon instant espresso dissolved in 1/4
cup of hot water
Pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream
Chocolate-covered espresso beans for garnish (optional)
In a small metal bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar until
well blended. Stir in the espresso. Place the bowl over a small saucepan of
simmering water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
Whisk the egg mixture until it is thick and creamy, like a cream sauce, about
4-5 minutes. Remove the bowl and refrigerate it until cool, about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until
foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until the
mixture until shiny peaks form.
In another bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks
form. Stir the cooled espresso mixture. Gently fold half of the espresso
mixture into the whipped cream; then fold in the remaining half. Finally, fold in
the egg whites until completely blended, taking care not to deflate the
Divide the mousse among 6 to 8 espresso cups or small custard cups.
Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours. Top each serving with a chocolate-
covered espresso bean (optional), and serve.