The chocolate soufflé is a standard in the pastry chef’s kitchen, and while myth and legend have grown up around the delicacy and impossibility of the soufflé, success is much easier than you think. The balance of lightness and decadence makes this a guaranteed crowd pleaser—and delivering a beautifully puffed soufflé to the table is sure to garner oohs and aahs. The secret about chocolate soufflés is that the cocoa butter helps the meringue to set and stabilize, which means that this batter can be made up to 3 hours in advance and still reach incredible heights. There’s no need to tell your guests this—just come out of your kitchen with a beautiful soufflé, and accept the compliments.
- Yield: 12 Servings
- 11 (330 g) egg whites
- 2 (40 g) egg yolks
- Butter for greasing the ramekins
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 14 oz (400 g) 70% dark chocolate; preferably Valrhona
- ½ tsp (3 g) lemon juice
- Set the egg whites and yolks on the counter top for 1 hour to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Coat twelve 6- to 8-oz (180- to 240-ml) ramekins with a thin layer of butter, then pour 1 tsp of the sugar into each butter-coated ramekin and swirl to coat the entire dish with sugar. Shake out the excess sugar.
- Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer. Place a large stainless-steel or glass bowl over the saucepan to create a bain-marie. Put the chocolate in the bowl and melt it, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and keep the chocolate warm over the bain-marie.
- Use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to combine the egg whites, lemon juice, and remaining (150 g) ¾ cup sugar. Whisk to shiny, full peaks. While the meringue is being whisked, pour the egg yolks into a small bowl. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) of the chocolate to the yolks, then add this mixture to the chocolate and mix evenly. The chocolate will want to set up, so keep it warm over the bain-marie and keep mixing.
- As soon as the meringue is whipped, fold one third into the chocolate mixture to lighten up the mixture. Gently add another third of the meringue to the chocolate mixture and fold; then add the rest of the meringue. Use a rubber spatula to fold the chocolate and meringue together. It is very important to be delicate and gently fold the batter, to avoid deflating it.
- Use a soup spoon to gently spoon ¾ cup (180 ml) of the soufflé batter into each sugarcoated ramekin, until each ramekin is filled to ¼ in (6 mm) below the rim. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven. Immediately close the oven door to avoid lowering the heat. Bake the soufflés for 7 to 10 minutes, until they have risen about 1½ in (4 cm) above the tops of the ramekins. It is very important to keep the oven door closed so as not to drop the oven temperature and cause the soufflés to fall. Serve immediately