Don't be intimidated by the prospect of making a mousse from scratch - it's really not that hard. The trick is in whipping the cream and the egg whites to just the right consistency and in folding it all together with a light hand.
The result? A dessert that is at once light, smooth and creamy - the perfect finish to a holiday meal.
Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave, taking care not to over heat. Let cool slightly. In large bowl, stir together chocolate, chestnut puree and rum until well-blended. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer, whip cream until it forms firm, but not stiff peaks. First, fold 1/3 of it into chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until just combined.
In separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Fold egg whites into whipped cream mixture.
Spoon or, using a pastry bag, pipe into 8 wine glasses. Refrigerate covered, for at least 2 hours, or until chilled. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a candied chestnut, if desired.
Can be refrigerated for 1 day.
Makes 8 servings.