Chocolate-centre vanilla soufflé with coffee sauce

Chocolate-centre vanilla soufflé with coffee sauce

Lamingtons & lemon tart
Patricia Niven

‘Souffle? Too hard, can’t do that!’ Yes you can. This dessert is extra special as it contains a soft chocolate centre and is served unmoulded.

The real secret to pulling off dishes like this is in the preparation and getting jobs done ahead of time. If I was planning to serve this dish on a Saturday night I would make the chocolate centres during the week and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. On Thursday or Friday I would make my coffee sauce and store it in the refrigerator. On the Friday I would have my moulds brushed and lined with chocolate and stored in the refrigerator. On Saturday morning I would make my vanilla pastry cream and take the eggs out of the refrigerator to bring them to room temperature.

If you’re planning ahead, have a couple of practice runs on family before presenting them to friends, then you’ll be turning heads with your impressive new pastry moves.

Get prepped, get ahead and get popular!


Quantity Ingredient

Vanilla pastry cream

Quantity Ingredient
300ml full-cream milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
60g caster sugar
20g plain flour
20g cornflour
4 egg yolks

Soft chocolate centres

Quantity Ingredient
90g dark chocolate, chopped
125ml thickened cream
60g unsalted butter, softened

Coffee sauce

Quantity Ingredient
140ml full-cream milk
140ml thickened cream
2 teaspoons freeze-dried coffee granules
3 egg yolks
25g caster sugar

Soufflé moulds prepared with grated chocolate

Quantity Ingredient
100g block of dark chocolate
unsalted butter, softened, as needed
6 metal soufflé moulds, 7 cm diameter and 4.5 cm deep

Souffle formula and assembly

Quantity Ingredient
140g vanilla pastry cream, (see above)
4 egg whites, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
6 refrigerated soft-chocolate centres, (see above)


  1. To make the pastry cream, put the milk, vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan over medium–low heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla pod.
  2. Whisk the sugar, flour, cornflour and egg yolks together well until the mixture pales and thickens.
  3. Pour one-third of the hot milk into the yolk mixture and whisk well. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and whisk well to combine.
  4. Place the pan over medium–low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the custard starts to boil and bubble. Cook at this temperature for a full minute, stirring vigorously the entire time.
  5. Transfer the pastry cream to a container and store it, covered, in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours and up to a maximum of 2 days.
  6. For the soft chocolate centres, place the chocolate in a bowl.
  7. Put the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and you have a shiny chocolate cream. Whisk in the butter.
  8. Leave the ganache to set at room temperature for 1 hour or so until it is thick enough for piping.
  9. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a plain 1 cm nozzle. Pipe 2 cm diameter bulbs of the mixture onto a tray lined with plastic wrap then freeze until firm. Once frozen place them in a plastic container in the refrigerator until needed. You will be left with more than you need, so feel free to freeze the rest for more soufflés at a later date.
  10. For the coffee sauce, put the milk and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Stir in the coffee until dissolved then remove the pan from the heat. Allow the coffee to infuse for an hour before re-boiling the mixture and straining it into a separate, clean saucepan.
  11. Whisk the yolks with the sugar until a little paler and thicker and add this mixture to the saucepan. Stir to mix in well and reduce the heat to low. Cook the custard to a temperature of 82°C.
  12. Strain this custard through a fine sieve into a jug and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  13. Grate the chocolate into a bowl using a microplane or fine grater. If the chocolate gets too warm, chill it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  14. It is important to prepare your moulds well. Using a clean pastry brush and vertical strokes, brush softened butter into the moulds. Now add the cold, finely grated chocolate to the moulds and move the moulds around so the chocolate completely covers the inside. Tap out any excess chocolate but be sure to check that the mould is completely covered. These can be prepared a day ahead.
  15. To assemble, preheat the oven to 180°C.
  16. Remove the moulds and pastry cream from the refrigerator.
  17. Place the pastry cream in a mixing bowl and smooth it out with a rubber spatula.
  18. To assemble the soufflés, make sure your tools and equipment are immaculately clean, especially the bowl and whisk you are using. Place the egg whites in a freestanding electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed. Gradually add the sugar in three stages. Whip until you have a firm and stiff meringue. Scoop one-third of the meringue into the bowl with the Vanilla pastry cream, using a spatula. Vigorously blend the two together with the spatula. When you have an evenly mixed mixture, add the remaining meringue to the bowl and gently fold it into the mixture. Add the soufflé mixture to the moulds, using a tablespoon. Fill to 1 cm below the lip of the mould. Push your index finger into the centre of the soufflé. Push a cold chocolate centre into the indentation. Using your finger, swirl the soufflé mixture to cover the hole.
  19. Place all the soufflés on a baking tray and pop them in the oven. Cook the soufflés for 4 minutes.
  20. While they are baking, take six bowls and lay them out on your work surface. Pour the coffee sauce into the bowls or have it to hand in small bowls or a jug on the side.
  21. Remove the soufflés from the oven and allow them to sit for 30 seconds before taking a cloth, picking up each soufflé and inverting them into the centre of the bowls. Serve immediately.


  • Try to use older egg whites for the soufflés, up to 2 weeks old is great as these perform better, and make sure the whites are at room temperature as well.

    Another important note is to make sure the chocolate centres are refrigerator-cold when you insert them into the soufflés. So take them out of the refrigerator at the last minute when you are assembling the soufflés.
darren purchese
burch and purchese
sweet studio
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