Just back from teaching a class in these beauties and there was great success all around! This is one of those desserts you need to plan ahead for and want to serve warm. It may sound intimidating, but it’s extremely easy to nail if you follow the instructions carefully! After trying recipes from several chefs, I’ve found my winner! And with some raspberry coulis drizzled down the middle? OMG!
Generously brush four 5-oz. ramekins (vertical strokes from the bottom to the rim) with softened unsalted butter. Set that in the fridge for one minute. Give the ramekins another coating of butter, then dust with a coating of either granulated sugar or finely grated chocolate (yum) and set them on a sheet pan covered with parchment. Don’t omit this step!! The granules of sugar or chocolate act like ball bearings to help the soufflé lift off in the oven!
Note: The grated chocolate won’t provide as much lift as the sugar, but you’ll find it adds a lovely crunchy component. (See souffle in the back right of the photo above for a visual comparison. The sugared one is in the front).
Refrigerate the ramekins until ready to fill and bake.
4 oz (113 g) dark chocolate
Can you use just any chocolate?
70% Dark couverture chocolate is my preferred chocolate for fine chocolate desserts but since chocolate is truly an individual preference, go with what you love!! Callebaut, Lindt, Guittard, Vahlrona, Ghirardelli and Scharffen Berger are all wonderful. You can buy them in bars, chunks, or “callets” (chocolate morsels that resemble chocolate chips but which are formulated for melting rather than baking).
Using a large knife, chop the chocolate into small pieces and set in a bowl on top of a pot with an inch of simmering water (also called a bain marie or double boiler). Don’t let the bowl touch the water or it will heat it too quickly. A gentle melting is what you want here. Once it’s melted, set the bowl on a dishtowel on the counter to wait for the roux.
2 T (28 g) unsalted butter
2 T (15 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup+ 2 tsp. (132 g) cold whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks (36 g), fresher the better
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add all-purpose flour and stir for one minute until it reaches a light peanut butter color. Reduce the heat to low, add COLD milk and whisk it until it thickens.
Using a spatula, add the roux to the melted chocolate and stir together along with the salt.
Once it’s incorporated, add the egg yolks and mix. The mixture should be smooth and shiny.
4 large FRESH egg whites* (120 g) at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 T (25g) white sugar
*Pro tip: crack your eggs on flat surfaces; it will give you less shell shatter
First make sure your mixer and whisk are very clean and absolutely dry. Add the room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl. (If beating with a hand mixer, make sure your bowl is either stainless steel, glass or ceramic because plastic bowls easily retain oils). Beat on high speed until foamy.
Once foamy, add the sugar a little at a time. Seriously, this is important. It should take up to a full minute to gently shake the sugar in. The reason you should do it this way is you don’t want to weigh down the egg whites as they beat. You’ll know they’re ready when the peaks hold their shape and resemble a stiff shaving cream with a shine. If you go too far, they will look curdled. If this happens, sorry, but you’ll have to start over.
Add 1/3rd of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and stir aggressively to incorporate. Doing this before you fold in the rest lightens the mixture and preps it for the rest of the egg whites. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites, stopping when you can’t see any more white. It should still have a light and fluffy appearance.
Remove the ramekins from the fridge. Pour the soufflé mix to the top of each ramekin and use a knife to level the top. Pinch your thumb and index finger together and go along the top edge of each ramekin so the edge of the soufflé doesn’t touch the ramekin at the top. This will allow the soufflé to rise without tripping up on the edges.
Bake at 375°F for 12-15 minutes in the lower third of the oven.
After they come out, dust with a sifting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder and serve/eat immediately. For extra fun, make a hole in the top and drizzle some raspberry coulis down the middle and top with whip cream or your favorite nut!
1/2 cup (116 g) frozen raspberries, defrosted
2 T (24 g) white sugar
1 T water
Place the raspberries in a food processor or blender and puree them.
Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Drizzle into the raspberries and pulse until blended.
Drizzle a spoonful into the center of your soufflé for a delicious compliment to the chocolate flavor!
Other delicious toppings: a dollop of whip cream, a cannula (spoonful) of vanilla ice cream, fresh raspberries, chocolate shavings, or a fruit syrup of your choice.
Adapted from recipes and techniques by Chef Gordon Ramsay, John Mitzewich (Chef John) and Chef Jeffrey Buben.