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Hot Chartreuse Souffle

I’ve had a long love affair with Chartreuse liqueur, even before I visited the monastery back in the 1990’s. We were led through a somewhat terrifying display of hooded monks (not real ones, fortunately, but long-face replicas), the kind you see in historical or agricultural museums in France that are meant to depict a historical representation of something, even drying prunes – likely for educational purposes, but always gives me a shiver. I guess I’m a lot more sensitive than the kids being led through the museums because those figures still haunt my dreams, decades later.

Izarra liqueur

At the distillery, we saw how Chartreuse was made from 100+ herbs, one of them I swear was a leaf that was recently legalized in California, a smell I knew well at the time. Then we were led to a tasting, and finally, the best part – the shop! My favorite treats were the chocolates filled with liquid Chartreuse, which you need to eat all in one go. Otherwise, you’ll find the liquid Chartreuse drenching the front of your shirt. If you’re in Paris, they sell versions at Jean-Charles Rochoux and Fouquet, and they’re well worth trying.

Hot Chartreuse Souffle

Chartreuse has a sharp herbal flavor that I find pair particularly well with dark chocolate. It’s made in the French alps, a region featured in Hungry for France, one of my favorite books about France, from one of my favorite authors (and sometimes dining companion), Alexander Lobrano.

Alec, as he’s known, was the Paris correspondent for Gourmet magazine for nearly a decade and now travels around France, and beyond, writing stories that focus on the local cuisine and culture for magazines, newspapers, and in his books.

Hot Chartreuse Souffle

His latest, Hungry for France, is a tour de force around the country, a place he knows well – from Normandy with its spectacular, gooey cheeses, to the Côte d’Azur, dining on ratatouille and fish pulled from the Mediterranean that morning. The book is filled with stories that anyone who loves France, and French cuisine, will savor, like his previous book, Hungry for Paris, a guidebook to Paris dining, which I found myself reading from cover-to-cover not just for the addresses, but for the stories that accompany them.

The one recipe in his book that I honed in on, toutes de suite, was the Hot Chartreuse Soufflé. I’d been meaning to add a few Chartreuse recipes to the site, and kept my bar stocked with a bottle at all times for when that happened. Then, it never happened. And somehow, the bottle of herbal green liqueur got drained from my stock. However when I saw these soufflés in his book, I grabbed my bottle of Izarra, a green Basque liqueur that I had on hand, which is somewhat similar to Chartreuse. (Although don’t tell the proud Basque people that I said that!) It’s got a lovely green color and has similar characteristics to Chartreuse, with the added bonus that I had a bottle within arm’s reach.

Hot Chartreuse Souffle

I am very fond of Chartreuse (and Izarra) with chocolate and had some sauce left from a recent batch of S’mores Ice Cream that I’d churned up. I’ve sometimes folded a handful of bittersweet chocolate chunks into soufflés like this, which melt a little, which give hits of dark chocolate here and there. But in this case, I liked the luscious pool of chocolate that sunk a bit to the bottom. Swirled with the warm herbal soufflé, spooned up just out of the oven, it was a double-dose of dessert deliciousness.

Hot Chartreuse Souffle

Chartreuse Soufflé

Adapted from Hungry for France by Alexander Lobrano, recipes by Jane Sigal As mentioned, I used Izarra, an herbal liqueur somewhat similar to green Chartreuse. Chartreuse is widely available and unless you have a similar herbal liqueur on hand, like I did, there’s no substitute. Another liqueur would take it in another direction. If you want to do some experimenting, am not sure exactly how much of another liqueur would work, but I’d try 1/4 cup (60ml). I used the chocolate sauce that was a ripple in the ice cream recipe here. It’s not too thick and it good served warm or at room temperature, which I offer in pitchers alongside, so guests can add their own.
Servings 5 servings
  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons (50g) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or seeds, or 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons (25g) corn starch
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons (75g) green Chartreuse
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • Additional sugar and softened butter for preparing the molds
  • Chocolate sauce (recipe for Fudge Ripple)
  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Butter the inside of five ramekins or custard cups with an approximate capacity of about 6oz/175ml capacity, including the rims, with softened butter. Sprinkle them with sugar and tap out any excess.
  • Heat the milk with 1 tablespoon of sugar and the vanilla seeds or half bean, to a simmer, in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes
  • Whisk together the corn starch with 1 tablespoon of sugar and the egg yolks in a small bowl. Gradually pour the warm infused milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. (If using a vanilla bean, remove it first. It can be rinsed and dried for another use.)
  • Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until it starts to thicken. Once it begins to get thick, whisk it more vigorously until it’s very stiff, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pastry cream into a large bowl, let cool for a few minutes then whisk in the Chartreuse.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attachment, or by hand, whip the egg whites with the salt until they start to stiffen. Continue whipping, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, until the egg whites are thick and hold their shape when you lift the whip.
  • Fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the pastry cream (if it looks lumpy, okay to give it a couple of pass-throughs with a whisk). Once incorporated, fold in the rest of the egg whites just until no – or very few – streaks of white are visible. Divide the mixture into the prepared ramekins. Smooth the top and run your thumb around the inside of the soufflés, which will help them “crown.”
  • Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 12 minutes until the soufflés are somewhat firm but still jiggly. They make take a minute more, or a minute less – ovens are like that. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, preferably with a pitcher of chocolate sauce. You can also dust them with powdered sugar if you want to be more upmarket.


Do-ahead: You can make the pastry cream (up to step 4) in advance and chill overnight in the refrigerator. You can also prepare the soufflés in advance (up through step 6) although I like them best made at the last minute, since that’s part of the excitement of serving a soufflé.


    • Nii

    Ah green izarra…I understand there is a yellow izarra as well. I wonder if the tastes vary significantly especially as the number of herbs used probably does. Alfred Hitchcock once made a film, “the lady vanishes” where one of the characters had a fondness for chartreuse. Spooky stuff! No wonder you were spooked in that monastery :)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      There is a yellow Izarra, but I’ve not had it. I prefer the green Chartreuse with it’s sharper, more assertive flavor. Not sure Izarra is available in the U.S. and other places, but Chartreuse definitely is.

    • Susan Walter

    The son of friends of ours used to work as a mason for the monks who make Chartreuse. We visited them once when he was home and he had brought a special bottle of the stuff with him. I’d had both green and yellow before, but apparently there are different grades and this one was a yellow monks-and-special-privileges version, only available if you know about it. At the end of a meal it made a very pleasant digestive.

    • Tori

    This looks absolutely divine! I simply want to drink that chocolate sauce!!

    • Patrick

    David, I’ve followed you for years now. I love your posts, recipes, travelogues, and shenanigans. However, I frequently have the same question …. is there a reason that you don’t have a “PRINT” button next to your recipes?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Patrick: Check here for the answer ~ dl

    • Janet

    I am also a fan of Chartreuse, so I will be making this toutes de suite.
    Thank you!
    Also, I love your playful descriptive literary alliteration – “a double-dose of dessert deliciousness.”

    • Kimberly

    Oh David, this is too funny! I have an unopened bottle of Izarra that I bought on our Basque tour with Anne Block many years ago. I’ve always wondered what the heck it tasted like. I’m going to have to crack that baby open. Soon.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Ha! Those were the days: copious luggage allowances and you could carry-on bottles of liquor! Time to open it up : )

    • italiangirlcooks

    I’m always learning new stuff from you; Chartreuse sounds so interesting, must try. This souffle looks divine!

    • Merisi in Vienna

    This sure looks delicious!
    Good thing I have no Chartreuse in the house.

    I tried to make popovers with buckwheat flour today. Turned out to be a total disaster. What is it with buckwheat that’s so different?

      • Cooking in Mexico

      Buckwheat isn’t a grain. Its flour is ground from a seed of a plant in the rhubarb family. You might have better luck by substituting no more than one fourth to one half of the regular flour called for with buckwheat flour. For a leavened bread, I would not use more than one fourth buckwheat flour.

        • Merisi

        Thank you so much for taking the time to explain why cooking with buckwheat is different from using flour! I truly appreciate your kindness and knowledge,

    • julia

    Back in the dark ages of cooking/eating Madeliene Kamman taught a class at Mary Risley’s Tante Marie Cooking School in SF. Now there is an unsung hero of the culinary world…, her menu that day included a layered ratatouille w garbonzo beans & mint that she called ‘ala pieds noir’ and a huge bowl of white choclate and chartruese mousse w a chocolate sauce….it was astonishingly delicious…can’t wait to make theselitle souffles….another interesting post…

    • Sally

    Love this David. I remember my introduction to green Chartreuse decades ago. I have a bottle languishing in my pantry. Love to make ice cream with it, but your souffle sounds divine. Have not made souffles in to long either, since I had to go gluten-free. I must starting making them again with GF flours. Have you tried GF flours with soufflés? My apologies if you have and i missed the post.

    • Parisbreakfast

    I think I may have tasted Chartreuse in Spain. Those tableaux of bannister-sliding clowns etc. are hilarious! Probably not at the same place as the faux scary monks…

    • Mary

    I love Chartreuse, but I haven’t cooked with it much (somehow both the yellow and green varieties seem to get drained around these parts anyway). I like the idea of pairing green Chartreuse with chocolate. It makes sense that it would work, but I’ve never done it.

    • Allyson

    I’ve never had the pairing of chartreuse and chocolate, though now I’m beyond curious about it. I might make these souffles to quench that curiosity- or I might just wait until I feel rich enough to buy a bottle…

    • Michael Donovan

    Interesting recipe. The Chartreuse souffle recipe I always use is in “Recipes from the Auberge of the Flowering Hearth” by Roy Andries de Groot. If you haven’t read that, get yourself to a library! Hundreds of recipes from the region and quite a few that use Chartreuse!

      • Victoria

      I’ve been meaning to buy The Augerge of the Flowering Hearth ever since David wrote about it and the Savoy cake recipe in 2012 — just purchased on Amazon and found Chartreuse at my local liquor store!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks, that’s one of my all-time favorite books on food. (I wrote about it here.) I don’t remember the Chartreuse Soufflé recipe but it makes sense since that’s the same region where the auberge was.

      • Bebe

      Read and reread that wonderful book! David brought it to our attention several years ago. Hard copies are collectors’ items and priced accordingly, but I got a nice trade paperback (large format) that has made for hours of pleasurable reading.

    • kris

    Hello David! I think this is the first time I’ve commented and I wanted to say THANKS! I live in Grenoble currently and on my recent trips to Lyon and Paris, your site helped me SO much in narrowing down the must sees (more accurately must eats) during those weekend trips. Rochoux and Bernachon chocolate, Eclairs de Genie, and though I wasn’t looking for it, Bordier butter! I am especially thankful for your tip about the good coffee at Holybelly – it turned out to be a 10-min walk from our hotel and since I fully agree with your views on typical French coffee, I *really* enjoyed that cappuccino. Keep the tips coming!

    • Mary Frances

    I have never tried Chartreuse liqueur but I would LOVE to try out this recipe! This sounds and looks marvelous :)

    • Victoria

    Chartreuse is delicious in chocolate chaud!

    • Yi

    looks soooooo goood !!!

    • mary

    Just made this tonight to share with some neighbors. We all loved it. We thought the pairing was inspired. Thank you.

    • Anna

    you could have cut out all the text and just posted the recipe and that top shot, it’s incredible. i enjoyed reading the post too though, and i’m glad it was included :)

    • Nadia

    looks and sounds delicious!

    • // grenobloise

    As someone who sees the majestic Chartreuse mountain range outside of her window in Grenoble; I’m very proud. :-) It’s a fantastic liqueur.

    David, if you ever come back here to visit the monastery/etc. do let me know! “Green chaud” in winter is great too!


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