Published September 1, 1996.
The secret to a bold, intense chocolate soufflé is a high proportion of chocolate and the use of beaten egg yolks instead of the usual béchamel or pastry cream.
A primary consideration when trying to create such a soufflé is what to use as the "base," the mixture that gives substance and flavor to the soufflé in contrast to the airiness and "lift" provided by the whipped egg whites.
What is the perfect soufflé? Rising dramatically above the rim of the pan, the perfect soufflé must have a texture that graduates from a crusty exterior to airy but substantial outer layer to rich, loose,not completely set center. It must also burst with the bright, clear taste of the main ingredient; the chocolate high notes should be clear and strong. A balancing act of egg whites, yolks, butter, and, of course, chocolate is the essence of a great chocolate soufflé.
After trying several versions of bases, we found that we consistently preferred a béchamel base (a classic French sauce made with equal amounts of butter and flour and whisked with milk over heat). We noted, however, that the milk muted the chocolate flavor. To achieve a full chocolate flavor, we ended up removing the milk and the flour, separating the eggs (whites are whipped separately), increasing the amount of chocolate, and reducing the amount of butter. The base now consisted of egg yolks beaten with sugar until thick, giving the soufflé plenty of volume but eliminating the flavor-muting milk. The result was intense chocolate flavor. After several more experiments, we discovered that adding two egg whites gave the soufflé even more lift and a better texture.list of recipes