With its chewy exterior and warm, puddinglike center, chocolate souffle might be considered the more refined cousin of molten cake. With or without creme anglaise, it's a showstopper. Souffle has earned a reputation for difficulty, but following a few key techniques will reward you with a masterpiece every time.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lower third. Do not open oven door until ready to bake. Brush outer lip of a 2-quart souffle dish with melted butter. Tie a sheet of parchment around dish with kitchen twine so it extends 3 inches above rim. Brush inside of dish andcollar with melted butter. Dust with sugar (this adds texture, which helps the souffle climb); tap out excess. Chill dish in freezer 15 minutes.

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  • Stir chocolates in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth. Scald the milk (heat it until it's just about to simmer) in a saucepan over medium heat; removefrom heat. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat 6 tablespoons sugar and the yolks on high until pale, about 4 minutes. On low, beat in flour. Beat in half the hot milk, ladling it in a little at time (this is called tempering and prevents the yolks from scrambling).

  • Whisk mixture into pan of hot milk; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking. Reduce heat to low; simmer until thick, about 2 minutes. Pour into chocolate. Stir in brandy (if desired),vanilla, and a pinch of salt. (This mixture can be refrigerated, 2 days. Rewarm in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.)

  • Egg whites are best whipped when they're at room temperature (they attain more volume).Using a balloon whisk, beat whites and a pinch of salt in a copper bowl until foamy. (Orbeat with an electric mixer in a stainless-steel bowl with cream of tartar.)

  • Add 1 tablespoon sugar; beat until whites almost hold stiff peaks. Add remaining tablespoon sugar, and beat until peaks are stiff (meaning they stand straight up when whisk is lifted).

  • Spoon one-third of egg whites onto base (incorporating in batches prevents them from deflating). Fold them in: Cut through center of mixture with a large rubber spatula, then gentlyturn spatula over. Rotate bowl a quarter turn; continue folding whites and turning bowl until mostly combined.

  • Fold remaining whites into base, one-third at a time.

  • The mixture is ready when the whites are fully incorporated.

  • Pour mixture into prepared dish. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; this helps you move souffle in and out of oven. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees; bake until set, 20 minutes. Remove collar; serve immediately with creme anglaise if desired

Cook's Notes

Overwhipped whites: You've taken your whites too far if they lose their glossiness and become clumpy. If you have, then your souffle won’t rise properly. But all is not lost: Add another egg white, whip until the consistency is smooth again, and continue with the recipe.

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