From America's Test Kitchen Season 9: A Grand, Sweet Finale
A chocolate soufflé is a grand dessert to serve dinner guests, but most cooks wouldn’t risk the anxiety of all the last-minute preparation when entertaining. It seemed a shame to cross this dessert off the list of possibilities for a dinner party, so we challenged ourselves to find a way to make it in advance. First we needed to perfect the soufflé recipe itself. We wanted the chocolate to be front and center, so we used a base of egg yolks beaten with sugar, with no flour or milk to mute the chocolate flavor. Instead of the equal number of egg yolks and whites that worked for our Grand Marnier Soufflé, two extra whites were necessary to lighten and lift our chocolaty base. Now that we had the flavor and texture we wanted, it was time to address the problem of making the soufflés ahead of time. To our amazement, the answer was simple: freezing. Adding a little confectioners’ sugar to the egg whites helped stabilize them so they held up better in the freezer, and individual ramekins produced better results than a single large soufflé dish. Now we could make our dinner party dessert ahead of time, confident that we could pull perfectly risen, rich chocolate soufflés from the oven at the end of the meal.
Serves 6 to 8
This technique only works for the individual chocolate soufflés, which can be made and frozen up to two days before baking. For a mocha-flavored soufflé, add one tablespoon of instant coffee powder dissolved in one tablespoon of hot water when adding the vanilla to the chocolate mixture. If you are microwave oriented, melt the chocolate at 50 percent power for three minutes, stirring in the butter after two minutes.