I truly believe that I began my baking career the very same evening that my parents decided that I was old enough to stay home without a babysitter. It was the era of TV dinners, so I was occasionally left with a rock-hard frozen aluminum rectangle for dinner. One night, unsatisfied with the tiny square of dessert offered. I opened my mother’s favorite cookbook, and lo and behold. I discovered a recipe for an exotic-sounding chocolate soufflé. All the ingredients were in the house, and with a Pyrex measuring cup as a soufflé dish. My career was born. Serve the soufflés immediately with a drizzle of crème anglaise or a dollop of whipped cream.—David Lebovitz
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons whiskey, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, very coarsely chopped, or 1/3 cup chocolate chips
1. Butter six 4-ounce ramekins or 6-ounce custard cups. Place them on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
2. In a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate with the milk. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the whiskey, and the egg yolks. Let stand at room temperature.
3. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until they are foamy and begin to hold their shape when the whisk is lifted. Gradually whip in the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, whipping until the whites hold soft, droopy peaks.
4. Fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fill the ramekins or custard cups halfway with the soufflé mixture. Sprinkle in the pieces of chopped chocolate. Add the remaining batter, filling the soufflé dishes almost to the top.
5. Bake for 14 minutes, or until the soufflés are firm, yet jiggly when nudged. They should be very soft when you remove them from the oven. Serve immediately.
Recipe © 2004 David Lebovitz. All rights reserved.