Soufflés are the perfect light and fluffy dessert. But they're like horses – they know if you are scared of them, and will get the better of you. So banish the fear and start with a giant cheese soufflé, served with a green salad or a huge bowl of green peas. Or whip up individual dark chocolate and almond soufflés that taste just like flourless chocolate cake in soufflé form, which is a very good thing.
3 tbsp butter
200g dark chocolate (70 per cent)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp very strong espresso coffee
1 tbsp brandy, rum or coffee liqueur
150g castor sugar
2 tbsp ground almonds
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
icing sugar for serving
Tip: Butter your soufflé dishes well to help those tiny bubbles of hot air trapped in the beaten egg whites to zoom up the sides and over the top, and you'll soon be heading for the heights.
1. Heat the oven to 200C. Melt one tablespoon butter and brush four x 200ml soufflé moulds or ramekins and place on a baking tray.
2. Chop the chocolate roughly and combine in a heatproof bowl with two tablespoons of butter, vanilla, coffee, brandy and all but one tablespoon of the sugar. Place over a pot half-filled with barely simmering water, stirring well until smooth. Cool for five minutes, then beat in the egg yolks, one by one, and the ground almonds.
3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then add the remaining sugar and beat again until they form stiff peaks.
4. Fold a third of the meringue through the chocolate, then gently fold in remaining meringue. Spoon into the moulds, filling them to the rim. Level the tops with a large knife, and wipe the rims clean.
5. Bake until puffed and risen, but still soft inside (about 12-15 minutes). Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.
Also try Jill's giant savoury cheese souffle.