1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1. beat the egg whites to soft peaks, add the tablespoon of sugar, continue on to firm peaks. use your good egg beating whisk and a clean metal bowl. let stand til later - you've got a good 20 minutes of fluff in there. (on last night's run, I forgot the sugar. recipe still worked)
2. while you are beating egg whites, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave. if in doubt, use a low power setting and more time, since your various beating steps will take at least 10 minutes.
3. carefully blend the chocolate and butter together, since microwaving means they like to separate. be fussy, since this is one of the parts that's the difference between smooth and grainy later. let stand.
4. beat the yolks, sugar and vanilla together. the texture will be slightly grainy but it should form a ribbon easily.
5. blend the chocolate/butter with the yolks and sugar until it's smooth and evenly colored. if the chocolate and butter mixture is too hot, it will try to cook the yolks. if your pyrex is trying to scald you, the mixture is too hot. if it is warm like a nice cup of tea, it should be fine. (another reason to use low power and the microwave!)
6. blend the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. do not beat it furiously with a whisk, since that will deflate the egg whites. it is ok to fold a bit vigorously with a spatula tho, since stiff peak egg whites are not inclined to mix with the chocolate.
7. if you do not have the custard cups the recipe calls for, you can use a small casserole dish. it will need to be baked slightly longer in a casserole dish, and will not have the wet center the recipe describes. if you overbake it, you end up with a flourless chocolate cake (otherwise known as chocolate souffle), so overbaking is not a dire disaster.
This produces a rich pudding-like cake that would like to be served with whipped cream (you need a second good egg beating whisk for the whipped cream since the washing and drying would be a pain) and red berries. It is *fine* all by itself. It is more work than brownies, but not so much more that it's deathly.