Gather your friends together for the upcoming 81st Annual Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars. To dine like the stars, we look to Chef Wolfgang Puck for inspiration. For 15 consecutive years, Puck has catered the official Oscar party.

For dessert, here is a recipe from Desserts by the Yard: From Brooklyn to Beverly Hills: Recipes from the Sweetest Life Ever (Houghton Mifflin, $45) by Wolfgang Puck, Sherry Yard and Martha Rose Shulman. Brooklyn-born Yard worked her way up to reign as Hollywood and Beverly Hills queen of sweet. As Executive Pastry Chef in Puck’s Spago empire, she annually creates 1,700 or so perfect desserts for the Governors Ball following the Oscars.

Chocolate Mousse
Makes 6 servings.

• 8 oz (250 g) good quality bittersweet chocolate
• 1 /4 cup (60 ml) brewed expresso
• 2 tbsp (30 ml) Grand Marnier liqueur
• 1 cup (250 ml) whipping (35%) cream
• 2 eggs, separated
• 6 egg whites, at room temperature
• pinch of cream of tartar
• 2 tbsp (30 ml) sugar
• Whipped cream and chocolate shavings (garnish)


Place chocolate in food processor fitted with knife blade; pulse to chop chocolate very fine.

In a small saucepan, combine espresso, Grand Marnier and 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the cream; bring to a boil. Turn on food processor and add hot liquid with food processor running. Process until chocolate has melted. Scrape down sides. Continue to process until smooth. Add egg yolks and process until blended. Scrape into a large bowl.

In bowl of a standing mixer with whisk attachment (or hand held electric mixer), beat all 8 egg whites on medium speed. When they foam, add cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium speed while slowly adding sugar. Beat until they form medium peaks. Gently fold into chocolate base, in 2 additions.

In same mixer, beat remaining cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold into mousse. Spoon mousse into six ramekins or other serving cups and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

– Barb Holland is a professional home economist and food writer who believes in shopping locally and in season.