Dark plain chocolate is the best kind to use for mouthwatering desserts like this one, which call for a good depth of flavour. Cold souffles and mousses, concocted from whipped cream and egg whites, have been popular puddings since the 17th century.
SERVES 6 - 8
450 ml (3/4 pint) fresh milk
175 g (6 oz) plain chocolate
3 eggs, separated, plus 1 egg white
75 g (3 oz) sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) gelatine
grated rind and juice of 1 orange
300 ml (10 fl oz) fresh whipping cream
15 ml (1 tbsp) chocolate liqueur
1. Line a 900 ml (1 1/2 pint) souffle dish with greaseproof paper to make a collar.
2. Put the milk in a saucepan and break 150 g (5 oz) chocolate into it. Heat gently until the chocolate melts, then cook over a high heat until almost boiling.
3. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick. Gradually pour on the chocolate milk, stirring. Return to the saucepan and cook, stirring continuously, until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. This takes about 20 minutes. Do not boil.
4. Sprinkle the gelatine in 45 ml (3 tbsp) water in a small bowl and leave to soak. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until dissolved. Stir into the custard with the orange rind and juice. Cool.
5. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape, then fold most of the cream into the cold mixture. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and leave to set. Remove paper collar.
7. Stir the liqueur into the remaining cream and use to decorate the souffle. Grate the remaining chocolate and sprinkle on top.