Showstopping Chocolate Souffle


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


  • Unsalted butter, melted, for dish

  • ½ cup sugar, plus more for dusting

  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • 1 ⅓ cups milk

  • 6 large egg yolks plus 8 large egg whites, room temperature

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Salt

  • Pinch cream of tartar (if not using a copper bowl)

  • Creme Anglaise


  1. 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 and collar with melted butter. Dust with sugar (this adds texture, which helps the souffle climb); tap out excess. Chill dish in freezer 15 minutes.

  2. 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; remove from 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).

  3. 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.)

  4. 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. (Or beat with an electric mixer in a stainless-steel bowl with cream of tartar.)

  5. 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).

  6. 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 gently turn spatula over. Rotate bowl a quarter turn; continue folding whites and turning bowl until mostly combined.

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

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

  9. 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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