There may be no more impressive dessert than the soufflé, it commands attention. In the kitchen there’s the suspense of watching it rise, then the race to get it on the table quickly,  before it falls. When you do, it’s a Wow. The mystique of the soufflé intimidates many people out of trying to master them.  It shouldn’t. Once you understand a few basic things, making a soufflé is actually quite easy to do.
You have to make sure the eggs are cleanly separated, as even a tiny amount of yolk in the whites will kill the meringue. The bowl and the whip for the meringue must be perfectly clean and dry. The trick that allows the soufflé to rise tall in the oven is the butter and sugar non-stick coating. Even this step is pretty easy. If you carefully and evenly coat the inside of the ramekin with butter and sugar, you’re near certain to succeed.

This chocolate espresso soufflé is a long-time favorite. Served with a little scoop of Coffee ice cream melting down into the hot center of the soufflé, it is a show stopper.

Chocolate Espresso Soufflé

Serves 4
4 individual soufflé ramekins
3 ½ tablespoons freshly brewed espresso (decaf if you prefer)
5 ounces dark semi-sweet chocolate
4 egg whites
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (plus more for decoration when served)
Soft butter and granulated sugar to prep the ramekins
Coffee Ice Cream for the top, or Whipped Cream

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler in a clean dry bowl.
Prepare the espresso and keep it ready.

Carefully separate 4 egg whites into a clean dry mixing bowl, set aside 3 yolks in a separate container.
Thoroughly coat the insides of the ramekins with soft butter. Then coat with granulated sugar. A perfect unbroken coating of butter and sugar is the key to a soufflé that rises straight and does not stick.
Beat the egg whites until they are frothy, add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until they hold a soft peak, do not over beat.

When meringue is ready, add the three egg yolks to the melted chocolate and mix quickly. Then stir in the hot espresso and immediately fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour or ladle the batter into the soufflé ramekins. Fill them just to the top, do not touch or disturb the butter sugar coating!
Bake in 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven, immediately dust the top with powdered sugar and top with a small scoop of ice cream. Serve at once. NVL

La Toque Restaurant Owner and Chef Ken Frank