['2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus additional for greasing bowls or ramekins', '3 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped', '1 large egg, separated', '1 tablespoon sugar', 'Accompaniment: coffee ice cream', '2 (5- to 6-oz) ovenproof glass or ceramic bowls or ramekins']
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bowls or ramekins.
Melt chocolate and butter in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and cool, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Whisk in egg yolk and a pinch of salt until combined.
Beat egg white in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until it holds soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, beating, and continue to beat until white just holds stiff, glossy peaks.
Whisk about one fourth of white into chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining white gently but thoroughly.
Divide batter between bowls or ramekins. Cover each bowl with a small square of foil and crimp foil tightly around rim. Put bowls in a baking dish, then add enough boiling-hot water to reach halfway up side of bowls, making sure that foil is above water. Bake until puddings are just set, about 30 minutes. (Puddings will be gooey to the touch.) Transfer bowls to a rack and cool puddings, uncovered, about 1 hour.
Just before serving, unmold puddings into serving bowls.
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