For the ramekins
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
For the chocolate pastry cream
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the meringue
- 8 large eggs
- ½ tsp cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- Transfer a rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Prepare 6 to 8 ramekins (3 ½” in diameter) by generously buttering them and coating the inside with sugar. Tap out any excess sugar.
- In a large saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, milk, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt until they are well combined. Turn the heat to medium and heat the mixture, whisking constantly for about 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, the mixture will begin thicken quite quickly. Continue to whisk constantly for an additional 2 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl stacked inside a second mixing bowl with ice water. This will help the mixture to cool more quickly. Allow the mixture to cool, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, in a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites just until they become frothy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until they form soft peaks, about 1 to 2 minutes. Continue beating while slowly adding the powdered sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form, about another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, gently transfer ⅓ of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and fold using a rubber spatula, just until it’s combined. Fold another ⅓ of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until it’s combined. Then fold the final ⅓ of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Avoid over mixing so you preserve as much air in your batter as possible.
- Use an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter into each of the prepared ramekins. You’ll want to fill them as close to the top as possible. When all of the ramekins are filled, run your thumb around the inside edge of each to create a little ridge; this will help your soufflés climb straight up while baking as opposed to up and over the edge.
- Bake until the soufflés rise about ½ to ¾ inch above the edge of the ramekin, between 15 and 18 minutes.
- Top each with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and serve immediately.