From My Chateau Kitchen by Anne Willan
The chocolate dessert of the nineties, these little cakes are baked to a crisp outside and a warm, melting center that acts as sauce. The recipe makes eight servings, and one key to success is leaving the batter to stand overnight. Then the cakes must be baked just long enough to hold a shape while the center remains soft. Don't worry if they overbake and set firm; they are still the very best of chocolate puddings.
Butter the ramekins, freeze them for 5 minutes, and then butter them again. Finally sprinkle them with flour, discarding the excess. Put the chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth, 5 to 8 minutes. Set the bowl aside to cool.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with half the sugar until thick and light, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the flour. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with the remaining sugar to form a light, stiff meringue, about 2 minutes. Fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture. Fill the ramekins to the rim, smooth the top with a spatula, and run your thumb around the edge to detach the mixture from the sides. Cover and refrigerate the cakes for 8 hours or overnight.
To bake the cakes, heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Set the cakes on a baking sheet and bake until puffed and set on the surface but still liquid in the center, 8 to 9 minutes. Take them out and let them cool for about 10 minutes so they shrink back into the molds. Run a knife around the edge and turn the cakes onto warmed individual plates. Top with a spoonful of ice cream, crème fraîche, or whipped cream, and serve at once.
Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appetit magazine and the website www.bonappetit.com, knows his way around a grill. He has edited an entire book on the subject: The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit.