Dark Chocolate Souffle

Serves 8-10

Sweet note: The great thing about souffles is that the batter can be prepared up to 3 hours in advance, put into the ramekins and held in a cool area (but not the refrigerator) until ready to bake just before serving.

11 egg whites

2 egg yolks

Butter and sugar for ramekins

14 ounces dark chocolate, 70 percent, preferably Valrhona, chopped

1 1/2 ounces unsalted butter

Few drops lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar for the meringue

Salted caramel ice cream for serving

1. Separate the eggs 30 to 45 minutes ahead of time; set on countertop to come to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat ramekins with a thin layer of butter. Add a tablespoon of sugar to each ramekin and swirl to coat the entire dish with sugar. Discard any excess sugar.

3. Bring a pot of water to a boil; turn down to a simmer. Place a nonreactive metal or glass bowl over the pot to create a double boiler. Put the chocolate and butter into the bowl and melt, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.

4. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, combine egg whites, lemon juice and sugar. Beat to shiny peaks. While the French meringue is being whisked, pour the yolks into the warm melted chocolate and mix evenly. Keep it warm over the double boiler.


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5. As soon as the French meringue is whipped, remove the chocolate bowl from the double boiler. Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the meringue into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Gently and delicately fold in remaining meringue to avoid deflating the souffle batter.

6. Use a soup spoon to gently spoon the batter into the prepared sugarcoated ramekins until each ramekin is filled to 1/4 inch below the rim. Place ramekins on a baking sheet, place in oven and immediately close the oven door, to avoid dropping the heat. Bake souffles for 7 to 10 minutes, or until they have risen about 1 1/2 inches from the top of the ramekins. It is very important to keep the oven door closed so as not to drop the oven temperature.

-- Yigit Pura, Tout Sweet Patisserie