The Celluloid Pantry: Chocolate “Mouse” and Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“No, no – you’ll have to give me the recipe.”

In Rosemary’s Baby (1968), an ambitious actor (John Cassavetes) and his childlike bride (Mia Farrow) move into a creepy New York apartment complex (the Dakota), and soon make the acquaintance of the strange old couple who are their neighbors.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The wife in the pair, Minnie (played with mischievous banality by Ruth Gordon) is the kind of woman who invites herself in and peers into all the kitchen cupboards. Rosemary is the kind of woman who steps back and watches helplessly. So when Minnie stops by with a couple of dishes of her “spe-ci-al-i-ty,” mousse au chocolat, or “chocolate mouse” as she calls it, Rosemary thinks it would be too rude to refuse. But after a few spoonfuls, she notices the dessert “has an undertaste, a chalky undertaste.” Her husband pressures her to finish it. Rosemary pretends to go along, but then dumps it into a napkin when his back is turned.

Soon afterward, Rosemary starts feeling drowsy. In her dreams, she realizes she was “bitten by a mouse.”

This recipe has all the rich, chocolate taste, but none of the druggy after-effects. It comes to us by way of the late, great Vincent Price.

Chocolate Mousse
(makes 4-6 servings)

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup milk
3 Tbs. rum, brandy, or very strong coffee
4 eggs, separated
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4-6 sprigs mint (optional)

Put chocolate and milk in the top of a double boiler and stir over hot water until smooth. Blend in liquor (or coffee) and remove from heat. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt, cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, and continue beating until mixture holds a stiff peak. In another bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and pale, and then beat in remaining sugar. Gently stir egg yolk and sugar into the chocolate, then add the vanilla. Carefully fold in egg whites. Pour chocolate mixture into individual moulds or ramekins and chill. Garnish each ramekin with a sprig of mint, if desired.

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