FreshTartRecipe: Not-Too-Heavy Chocolate Souffles

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For someone who digs the savory over the sweet, it’s not my usual to post two desserts in a row. But I couldn’t resist sharing these perfect Valentine’s Day chocolate souffles from Alice Medrich’s marvelous chocolate cookbook BitterSweet. Despite their decadent, chocolate-y goodness, these souffles are really rather light (around 200 calories without whipped cream), which makes them the perfect end to any menu you can dream up. No flour (gluten- and grain-free!), a small amount of butter, and a splash of milk mean these are mostly chocolate and eggs.

Everyone—and I mean everyone—adores them, hot from the oven, topped with a dollop of whipped cream. If you have leftovers, make sure to reheat them in the micro for a bit, since they really must be warm to shine.

You can make these up to two days ahead of time—I’m not kidding. Just cover and refrigerate, then bake for 15 minutes before you serve. I make them so often that I have the recipe memorized.

Intensely Bittersweet Souffles (aka Not-Too-Heavy Chocolate Souffles!)

From BitterSweet by Alice Medrich
Serves 8

About 2 Tbsp. sugar for the ramekins
8 oz. bittersweet 70% chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 c. milk
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 c. sugar

For the topping:
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. sugar

If you are baking the souffles right away, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Butter eight 6-oz. ramekins and sprinkle with sugar.

Place the chocolate, butter, and milk in a large heatproof bowl in a large skillet of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the water bath and whisk in the egg yolks. (Don’t worry if the mixture stiffens lightly or is less than perfectly smooth at this point.) Set aside.

In a medium, dry bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Gradually sprinkle in the 1/4 c. of sugar and beat at high speed until the whites are stiff but not dry. Fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins, filling each three-quarters full. (The souffles can be prepared to this point, covered, and refrigerated for up to two days. Bake directly from the refrigerator.)

Place souffles on a baking sheet. Bake until they rise and crack on top and a wooden skewer plunged into the center emerges very moist and gooey (but the centers should not be completely liquid), 14-16 minutes, perhaps a minute or so longer if the souffles have been refrigerated.

Meanwhile, make the topping: Beat the cream with the vanilla and sugar until it holds a soft shape (or stiffer, if you like it that way). Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When they are done, serve souffles immediately with whipped cream.