This recipe is an adaption from François Payard’s Simply Sensational Desserts (Broadway Books, 1999). Payard is one of New York’s foremost pastry chefs. He notes that while many chocolate soufflés are made with cocoa powder, the best, most luxuriant ones require real chocolate (as in the recipe below).
The sweetness of this soufflé contrasts well with the nutty caramel quality of a Tawny Port or Banyuls; recommended Tawny Ports include Dow’s 30-year; Taylor Fladgate 20-year and Niepoort 10-year; a recommended Banyuls producer is M. Chapoutier.
- ¾ tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, plus more for greasing ramekins, at room temperature
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar, plus more for dusting ramekins
- 1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 large egg, separated, at room temperature
- 1 large egg white, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pistachio ice cream, for serving (optional)
Generously butter the insides of two 6- or 8-ounce ramekins. Chill the ramekins in the freezer for 15 minutes. Butter the ramekins again, dust the insides with granulated sugar, and tap out the excess. Return the ramekins to the refrigerator while you make the soufflé base.
Fill a medium saucepan one third full with water and bring to a simmer. Place the chocolate and the ¾ tablespoon butter in a medium heatproof bowl, set the bowl over the simmering water, and melt, stirring occasionally, until completely smooth. chocolate Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk the egg yolk into the now-cooled chocolate mixture until smooth.
In a clean, dry bowl, heat the egg whites with an electric mixer on low speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 4 teaspoons sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, fold 1 mound of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remaining beaten whites.
Spoon the mixture into the chilled prepared ramekins, filling each about three-fourths full. Run your thumb around the inside edge of each ramekin, wiping off the sugar and rubber from the rim.
Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until puffed. Serve immediately. If you wish, crack the top of each soufflé with the back of a spoon and top with a scoop of pistachio ice cream.