Chocolate is good for the Soul
For the chocolate connoisseur, there is nothing as luxuriant as the famous French dessert Moelleux au Chocolat, or in layman’s terms, the flourless chocolate cake! What makes this dessert so delectable is the exciting moment the spoon breaks through the crust to a warm chocolate-mousse center! I must confess that I’m an amateur baker on my best day. If the old kitchen adage is true, that “cooking is an art, baking is a science,” I’m in trouble before the egg white and yolk part ways and the butter and sugar are creamed. But “heavenly” is the only word to describe this dessert. Not only are there just four main ingredients (chocolate, egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar), cooking time is 12 minutes, and it’s gluten-free. Chocolate is plain good for the soul!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Moelleux au Chocolat
- 6 oven-proof ramekins
- 10 oz good-quality dark chocolate, at least 65% cacao (I suggest one bag of Ghirardelli’s dark-chocolate chips)
- 6 ex-large organic egg whites (the fresher the eggs, the better)
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 6 tbsp fine cane sugar
- Coconut oil
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°. There are three tricks to this recipe: The first is the art of melting chocolate. Chocolate does not like direct, high heat. Therefore, you must use a bain-marie (double boiler) or, like me, improvise. Use a saucepan filled with a couple inches of boiling water, set a heat-proof bowl with the chocolate chips over it, trying your best not to allow the bowl to touch the water. Slowly stir the chocolate chips until they are melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.
Second trick: Mastering the egg white! First you must separate the egg white from the yolk— no yellow allowed! In either a standing mixer fitted with a whisk or using a hand-held mixer, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat the egg whites until they are frothy, then slowly add the sugar on medium-high speed until you reach stiff peaks. (It should look like stiff whipped cream).
Third trick: With a spatula or large spoon, delicately fold dollop after dollop of the egg-white mixture into the melted chocolate. Do not rush this process or stir vigorously, or else your beautiful egg whites will turn to soup. Next grease 6 ramekins with coconut oil, and fill each halfway with your chocolate mixture. Place in your preheated oven. Bake the mini chocolate cakes until the tops crack, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Dust the tops with powdered sugar and voilà, you have a three-star Moelleux au Chocolat! Now all you have to do is close your eyes and imagine you are sitting in a Parisian cafe on the Left Bank with Edith Piaf playing in the background!