Chocolate soufflé is the ultimate chocolate dessert, yet people shy away from it because of all the last-minute work and the fear it won’t rise. Even some experienced home cooks i know are afraid of soufflés and claim this dainty dish is difficult to make, susceptible to colds, drafts, applauds or maybe even poltergeists. As a kid, i was once told it would deflate if i looked at it too much. See what we’re dealing with today?
Soufflé is one of those dishes that either turns out brilliant or a complete and utter flop but the truth is, it’s not hard to make at all. I like this chocolate soufflé recipe because there’s nothing, NOTHING that stands in between you and your chocolate. No monkey business here. French meringue + (high-quality) chocolate ganache = soufflé. I don’t even add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture. I use them in a Grand Marnier creme anglaise to serve on the side instead. The result is a soufflé that is pure chocolate bliss.
The perfect chocolate soufflé
- Serves 4
For the chocolate soufflé:
- 1/3 cup half-and-half
- 3 ounces Valhrona Manjari or your favorite bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Valhrona
- 1/3 cup water
- 8 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Grand-Marnier Creme anglaise (replace the orange flower water with Grand-Marnier)
For the chocolate soufflé:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Use a pastry brush (or your fingers!) to coat the inside of four 1 1/2-cup soufflé mold with softened butter. Fill the mold with granulated sugar, then pour out the excess.
- Pour the half-and-half into a saucepan and heat over medium high heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and make a ganache by adding the chopped chocolate. Stir well until combined and all of the chocolate has melted.
- Make a double-boiler by setting a large mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water. Place the ganache in the mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder and water, and whisk until very hot. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and whip on medium speed until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and make a French meringue by adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and whipping the whites to stiff but not dry peaks. Do not overwhip the egg whites! You can tell the egg whites are overwhipped if they start to separate and resemble scrambled eggs. Been there, done that.
- Use a rubber spatula to gently fold about half the meringue into the warm chocolate mixture. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining meringue, being careful not to deflate the batter. The soufflé mixture should be homogeneous in color, but if you still see streaks of meringue in the batter, that’s okay.
- Use a large spoon to gently place the soufflé mixture in the buttered and sugared mold. Fill to about 1/4 inch below the rim of the mold. Run your thumb around the rim to remove the excess butter and sugar.
- Bake until the soufflé has risen to about 1 1/2 half-inch over the rim and starts to brown on top, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and dust the top with powdered sugar. Serve immediately with a side of Grand Marnier Creme anglaise.