Here is your opportunity to triumph over your souffle-avoidance complex. This souffle's crisp crust cradles a lava flow of deep, dark chocolate. Even better, you can put it together and whip it into the oven in time for a finale people will remember.
- Unsalted butter and sugar, for preparing the souffle dish
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or granules
- 1 tablespoon instant or quick-mixing flour, such as Wondra
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature, separated
- 3 to 4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with the rack in the upper, but not top, position. Butter the interior of a 6-cup souffle dish. Sprinkle the inside with sugar, knocking out the excess.
Place the sugar, milk and espresso powder or granules in a medium, heavy saucepan and stir them together. Set the pan over high heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bittersweet chocolate and the unsweetened chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Add the butter, and stir until it has melted. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring the mixture well after each addition.
In a very clean large bowl with very clean beaters, whip the egg whites until they are stiff but not too dry. Scoop a large spoonful of whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Pour the chocolate mixture into the whites and fold it in gently but thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish.
Bake for 20 minutes. While the souffle is baking, place the confectioners' sugar in a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl; set aside. When the souffle has baked for 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more. This souffle will not rise dramatically, but the top should be crusty and the souffle should be firm (not too wiggly when the pan is shaken).
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Be careful not to overbake, because the top can get dry quickly.]
If the top is browning too fast, gently lay a piece of foil over it. Remove the souffle from the oven, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve it immediately by using two soup spoons to scoop up some of the crusty top and the molten filling onto dessert plates.
"ChocolateAmerican Style," by Lora Brody (Clarkson Potter, 2004)
Tested by Judith M. Havemann.
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