Signature Dish of Jean B.

Jean B's Delice au Chocolat

2.66 c chopped semisweet chocolate (I'd now use Scharffen Berger; if that isn't available, I'd use Valrhona BUT the former has such nice nuances.)
5 eggs, separated
1 Tbsp Brandy or...*
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp flour
0.25 tsp salt
1 stick plus 2 Tbsp sweet butter, softened (5 oz)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over almost-boiling water on very low heat. Let stand ca 10 minutes, then stir til melted and smooth. Let cool a bit til needed.

Grease a parchment circle to fit the bottom of a baking pan (I always used a pan that was 8" on the top and ca 6.75 inches on the bottom with very slightly sloped sides. Looking at my pan, I think a 7.5" springform, ca 3" deep would be fine.) Place greased side down in pan and then grease both parchment and pan.

Beat the egg yolks til thick. Beat in the brandy, flour, and butter the last-mentioned ca 1 Tbsp at a time. Add the chocolate and mix gently til smooth and homogeneous. (Yes, it will be sort-of melty. Hence I think it's good to get the chocolate melted and let it cool a tad while you are proceeding up to this point.) Beat the egg whites til frothy; add the sugar and proceed to beat til stiff and glossy. Fold thoroughly into the chocolate mixture. Turn into prepared pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes or til center's firm when touched lightly (you just don't want it to be liquid; if you cook it too long, you will destroy the ultimate texture). It won't look done. As it cools, the delice will become firmer; it will also sink and possibly crack. (I almost threw it away the first time I made it, thinking it was a total disaster!). Cool thoroughly in pan on rack. Then turn out of pan and invert back onto serving plate. You will probably need to loosen the sides to do this--possibly with a long thin knife.. If you are not using a springform, you can also dip the pan briefly into hot water to get it out. Chill thoroughly. (You can also freeze this indefinitely and eat it directly or almost directly from the freezer if you are so inclined, but try that later.) Believe me, this is VERY rich. If you serve it with whipped cream, that will seem refreshing by comparison.

*I experimented with various liqueurs and also liked using VERY strong coffee either instead of the brandy (if liquid) or dissolved in it. I might even try using some ground coffee beans now.

I also made a chocolate-mint version, usually by inserting a toothpick into very strong peppermint oil and then stirring it around in the butter mixture a bit. You could obviously use more extract. Or if you are near a Trader Joe's, you could use their divine mint chocolate chips. Don't know if I would try it with the other brands though.

I also once tried doing this with butterscotch chips (I don't even eat them now, but that's another story). It didn't solidify properly even when frozen!

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