Her new memoir is One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir of Food and France. Find her recipe for Chocolate Soufflé (Soufflé Au Chocolat) below.
Chocolate Soufflé (Soufflé Au Chocolat)
(From Anne Willan’s One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir of Food and France)
Chocolate soufflé is so easy, 15 minutes prep and 15 minutes to bake. But one reason I love it is that there is always the challenge, the element of risk like the high jump that you can trip and fall with no halfway of saving face. A relatively high oven is important in creating a crisp outside and runny center that forms its own dark chocolate sauce.
1-qt/1 liter soufflé dish or four 1-cup/250-ml soufflé dishes
4 ounces/11 g dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup/125 ml heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1 ½ tablespoons rum or cognac
Melted butter, for the dish
5 egg whites
3 tablespoons/45 g granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
1. For the soufflé mixture, put the chocolate and cream in a saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and the mixture just falls easily from the spoon. Take the pan from the heat and beat in the egg yolks so they cook and thicken the chocolate slightly. Stir in the rum. The soufflé mixture can be prepared to this point 3-4 hours ahead, covered and kept in the pan at room temperature.
2. To finish, heat the oven to 425°F/220°C and set a shelf low down in the oven. Butter the soufflé dish, chill in the freezer until cold, and butter a second time. If using individual dishes, set them on a baking sheet. Whisk the egg whites until stiff in a copper bowl or using a heavy-duty electric mixer. Gradually add the granulated sugar, whisking to form a light, glossy meringue, about 30 seconds. Warm the chocolate in the pan until just hot to the touch, take from the heat and stir in about a quarter of the meringue to lighten it. Add the chocolate mixture to the remaining meringue and fold the mixtures together as lightly as possible. Spoon the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish and smooth the top; the dish should be almost full. Run your thumb around the inside rim of the dish so the soufflé will rise evenly.
3. Bake the soufflé at once until puffed and almost double in volume, 12-15 minutes for a large soufflé or 7-9 minutes for small ones. If you shake the dish, the soufflé mixture should wobble slightly, showing it is still soft in the center. Meanwhile, line a platter with a napkin so the soufflé dish cannot slide. Take the soufflé from the oven, sprinkle quickly with confectioners’ sugar and set the dish on the plate. Serve at once, a soufflé cannot wait. When serving a large soufflé, use 2 large spoons to scoop up both the crisp outside and soft center onto each plate.