Chef Cindy Mushet's Bittersweet Chocolate Souffle with Custard Sauce

Chef Cindy Mushet's Bittersweet Chocolate Souffle with Custard Sauce

Recipe from Chef Cindy Mushet, The Art and Soul of Baking, makes eight 4-ounce ramekins


  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (up to 70% cacao), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated + 1 extra white
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) sugar

Preparing the oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Position an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Melt a little extra butter and thoroughly brush the inside of each ramekin – just an even, light coating – do not let it pool in the bottom. Sugar each ramekin and tap out the excess. Place ramekins on a parchment-lined sheet pan and set aside. 

Melting the chocolate

  1. Place the chocolate in the top of the double boiler and set aside. Pour 2-inches of water in the bottom of the double boiler and bring to a rolling boil. Turn the heat off and set the chocolate over the steaming water. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Leave over the warm water until needed.

Making the béchamel sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Take the pan off the heat, add the flour and whisk well to remove any lumps. Return to the heat and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk slowly, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Once all the milk is added, return to the heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened and the consistency of thin pudding. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Dissolve the espresso powder in ½ teaspoon water and whisk into the sauce. Scrape the melted chocolate into a large bowl. Add the béchamel sauce and whisk to blend. Whisk in the egg yolks. Cover and keep warm while you whip the egg whites.

Whipping the egg whites

  1. In a clean mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they form soft peaks. With the mixer running, rain in the sugar and beat until they form firm peaks.
  1. Gently whisk ¼ of the egg whites into the chocolate béchamel sauce to lighten the mixture. Fold in the remaining whites, just until there are no more streaks of whites in the batter.

Filling the soufflé dishes

  1. Transfer the soufflé batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (or use an ice cream scoop). Pipe batter into each soufflé dish filling it all the way to the top. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Baking the soufflés

  1. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until set and firm to the touch in the center.


  1. Serve immediately, dusted with powdered sugar, with small pitchers of Vanilla Bean Custard Sauce. For an over-the-top dessert, break open the top of the soufflé and pour in Caramel and Chocolate Sauces, then top with a generous spoonful of Whipped Cream. Pass additional sauce and cream around the table. Ooh la la! 

Chocolate Souffle Variation

You can also bake this in one large soufflé dish. Butter and sugar a 7-1/2 cup soufflé dish. Follow the recipe above. Bake at 400 F. for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. and continue to bake for another 12 to 18 minutes, or until set and firm to the touch in the center. Serve immediately.


Getting Ahead

The soufflé mixture may be completed and piped into the dishes up to 2 days in advance of baking. Set them on a baking sheet and wrap with plastic so the chocolate does not absorb any refrigerator flavors. Transfer the pan of souffles directly to the oven for baking. Custard sauce can be prepared and held, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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