(makes 8 x 125ml souffle-size dishes or oven-proof espresso cups)

This Mexican inspired, deeply rich chocolate dessert offers a twist on Creme Caramel. It is adapted from a recipe by Chicago chef Rick Bayless. Measure almond essence judiciously, away from the bowl, as a little goes a long way. Enjoy with a shot glass of Kahlua poured over ice.


100g (1/2 cup) sugar
65ml (1/4 cup) water
125ml (1/2 cup) cream
375ml (1 + 1/2 cups) milk
125g dark (70%) chocolate (tablet, chopped)

65g (1/3 cup) sugar
1 cinnamon quill
4 large eggs
15ml (1 tbsp) Kahlua
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond essence


  • Place sugar and water into a small heavy based saucepan set over a low heat. Stir till sugar is barely dissolved.
  • Increase heat to medium and simmer sugar syrup without stirring till syrup begins to colour. Swirl pot over the heat frequently till syrup is an even deep amber colour.
  • Working quickly and carefully, evenly divide caramel among 8 souffle dishes. Tilt and turn dishes to distribute the caramel on the base of the souffle dish and slightly up the sides. Place dishes into a deep roasting tray.
  • Pour cream and milk into a medium-sized pot, add chocolate, sugar and cinnamon and place over medium heat. Stir till chocolate is melted and amalgamated and slowly bring to just below the boil.
  • Remove from heat, cover and leave to steep for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 165°C.
  • In a small bowl place eggs, Kahlua, vanilla extract and almond essence and whisk, without creating froth, till just combined. Pour into warm milk mixture and lightly whisk just to combine. Once again try not to create froth. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug. This will remove any strands of egg white and the cinnamon quill.
  • Pour chocolate custard into caramel-lined souffle dishes.
  • Place into preheated oven and pour hot water into roasting tray to come three-quarters of the way up the sides of the souffle dishes. Loosely cover with a sheet of aluminium foil and bake for 25-30 minutes till the custard has barely set. It should still wobble when you move a dish from side to side.
  • Remove from oven; take custards out of water bath and leave to cool. Refrigerate till completely cold or overnight.
  • If you wish unmould by slipping a small palette knife along one edge of each souffle dish and down to the base. Invert a serving plate of the top of the souffle dish and unmould custard onto plate. Scrape out any remaining caramel onto the custard and serve. Alternatively serve in souffle dishes for guests to discover the liquid caramel.