classic chocolate soufflé
Measuring your ingredients by weight (rather than volume) is the most accurate way to bake and produces the best results.
6 ramekins, 3” wide
double boiler or bain marie
2 nonreactive bowls
rimmed baking sheet
mixer with whisk attachment (or large bowl with balloon whisk)
granulated sugar, as needed for ramekins
unsalted butter, as needed for ramekins
8 oz (227 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use Valrhona fèves 61% )
4 egg yolks
¼ heaping cup (2 oz/ 56 g) granulated sugar, divided
1 cup (8 oz/240 ml) whole milk
¼ teaspoon freshly grated fèves de tonka*
1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (1/2 oz 13 g) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cornstarch
6 egg whites
¼ cup (2 oz/56 g) granulated sugar
pinch of kosher salt
* In the U.S, you probably will not be able to find Tonka beans; however, you can substitute vanilla which is equally delicious. Scrape the vanilla beans from a 2” piece of a fresh vanilla pod and add the beans to the milk. Proceed with the recipe as otherwise indicated.
- Prepare dishes. Butter the interior and rims of the soufflé dishes and coat with sugar. Tap out the excess sugar.
- Oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
- Melt Chocolate. Use a double boiler or make a bain marie by filling a saucepan half full with water. Bring the water to a boil. Place a heat-proof pan or bowl filled with the chocolate on top of the saucepan. The water should not touch the bain marie. Melt the chocolate by turning off the flame and letting the steam melt the chocolate (this way you will not overheat it). Stir the chocolate with a spatula until smooth. Set aside.
- Combine Yolks With Sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the yolks and half of the sugar (⅛ cup /1 oz) with a whisk until well-combined. Set aside.
- Make Roux/Béchamel. Place a saucepan over a medium flame. Add butter and melt. Add flour and use a whisk to combine the flour with the butter to make a roux. While continuing to whisk, pour in the milk mixture. Add cornstarch. Cook for about 6-7 minutes (while whisking) until the starch taste is cooked out and the consistency is that of pudding. Turn off the burner.
- Add Yolks/Chocolate. Off the heat, slowly pour the liquid to the mixed yolks, whisking continually until combined and there are no lumps. Pour into a large clean bowl.
- Add chocolate. Use a spatula to add the melted chocolate to the yolk mixture. Stir until full combined. This is the base and it can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. However, bring the base to room temperature before you proceed with the rest of the recipe.
- Whip Egg Whites. Using a mixer fit with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites to a clean bowl. Turn mixer on medium speed. Once the eggs are foamy, add a pinch of salt and slowly pour in the sugar (¼ cup /2 oz). Continue to mix on medium speed. When the eggs begin to hold soft peaks, increase the mixer speed to high. Continue to whisk on high until the eggs form stiff peaks (do not over-whip the eggs or they will start to break down).
- Fold. Use a spatula and stir 1/4 of the egg whites into base and fully incorporate. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites in fourths. (Folding is gently pulling the batter over and under the egg whites as if you are wrapping the whipped egg whites in a blanket of chocolate). DO NOT rush this process because you want to leave as much air in the batter as possible. When there are no more white streaks or lumps, spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins. Divide evenly among the six.
- Bake. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Immediately reduce heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Bake for about 14 minutes.
- Serve. Remove from the oven carefully. Serve immediately. The soufflés can be served with whipped cream, pastry cream, ice cream, or enjoy the soufflés “just plain” with powdered sugar (as my daughters like it).