1/4 cup half-and-half (1/2 cream-1/2 milk)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Valhrona
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar + extra for the mold
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Use your fingers to coat the inside of a 4-cups pot (or four 1 1/2-cup soufflé mold) with softened butter. Fill the mold with granulated sugar so it adheres to the butter, then pour out the excess.
Melt the chopped chocolate and sugar in a bowl over a bain-marie. Add the half-and-half and cocoa powder. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Set on the side to cool slightly.
Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Add the yolks one by one to the chocolate ganache and stir until smooth.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer with the pinch of salt and whip on medium speed until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and make a French meringue by gradually adding 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whip the whites to stiff but not dry peaks.
You can tell the egg whites have been overwhipped if they start to separate and become watery.
Use a rubber spatula to fold about 1/4 of the meringue into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold the remaining meringue gently into the chocolate mixture.
Fill the buttered and sugared pot or ramequins with the chocolate mixture. Fill to about 1/4 inch below the rim of the mold. Run your thumb around the rim to remove the excess butter and sugar.
Bake until the soufflé has risen to about 1 1/2 half-inch over the rim. Cooking time will vary depending on size of the pot or ramequin. A 1-1/2 cup ramequin will take about 12 minutes to cook. A 4 cups pot will take 25 to 30 minutes. A 6 cups dish will take up to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and dust the top with powdered sugar.
By Chef Zen