Chocolate souffle may seem like a fussy special occasion treat, but the truth is they are very simple (and inexpensive) to make at home. They key is knowing how to fold the components together, being gentle enough not to deflate the foam, but thorough enough to bring everything together smoothly. The only way to become good at this is through plenty of practice, so give this recipe a shot — even if your first try isn’t perfect, it still tastes amazing.
1⁄3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1⁄8 teaspoon cream of tartar or white vinegar
Pinch of salt
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla
Soft unsalted butter for greasing ramekins
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Generously grease the insides of 6 individual soufflé ramekins with butter. Add half a tablespoon of granulated sugar into each and shake to coat — add additional sugar if necessary, because it is imperative for the inside of the ramekins to be fully coated. Gently tap out excess sugar and set aside.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water, then set aside to cool for a minute or two. Add egg yolks one at a time while whisking vigorously until completely smooth, then whisk in salt and vanilla.
In a separate clean bowl, whisk egg whites with the cream of tartar or vinegar til very frothy and slightly opaque. Gradually add remaining sugar a bit at a time while continuing to beat egg whites until they are glossy and stand in stiff peaks.
Scoop a third of the beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture and stir gently with a flat rubber spatula until mixture is loose and streaky. Add half the remaining egg whites and begin to fold in, being careful not to deflate the foam. Once mostly incorporated, add the rest of the egg whites and continue folding until smooth.
Divide the souffle mixture between the prepared ramekins, arrange on a sheet pan and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake undisturbed until the souffles are well risen and a crust has appeared on the top, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top.
Suggested Wine Pairing: Negri La Giara Lambrusco Dolce (inquire with one of these retailers)
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated writer, cookbook author, humorist, chef/owner of the highly-acclaimed Robicelli’s Bakery, occasional TV personality, raconteur, wife, mother, and all-around good time.