Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chocolate Souffle

Have I lost my mind? Am I on drugs? Am I overestimating my powers in the kitchen? Perhaps, but by golly I'm making a souffle! (Let me state for the record, I am not on drugs. And while I might be a little...unique, I am mentally sound for all intense purposes. Thank you.) In general I'm not an adventurous person, but for whatever reason I feel bolder in the kitchen. Souffle? Ha! I laugh in the face of souffles. I found the recipe on America's Test Kitchen website. And away we go!

5 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 tablespoon softened, remaining butter cut into 1/4-inch chunks)
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for coating the dishes
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped coarse
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (I didn't use this. I wasn't about to buy it for one tablespoon. Jerks.)
6 large egg yolks
8 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar

Let's talk about this kitchen tool for a second. It separates egg yolks and whites. It props on a glass. It's useful and you need one. I inherited mine from my mom who had two which means it probably came from my grandma. Sure, you can use your hands which makes you seem more chef-like and I actually did that today since some of the whites were thick, but this tool is useful. Merry Christmas.

Coat eight 1-cup ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter, then coat inside of dish evenly with the 1 tablespoon sugar; refrigerate until ready to use.

I love Ghiradelli chocolate. It's always my first pick.

Melt chocolate and remaining butter in medium bowl set over pan of simmering water. Turn off heat, stir in salt, vanilla, and liqueur (if using); set aside.

Bring the 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons water to boil in small saucepan, then simmer until sugar dissolves. With mixer running, slowly add this sugar syrup to egg yolks; beat until mixture triples in volume, about 3 minutes.

This is when I realized that I didn't read my recipe correctly and added the syrup to the whites. Whoops. This is also when I wondered if I just ruined the fragile souffle recipe. I finished what was supposed to be the real steps to the egg white portion (see below) and set it aside.

I simply beat the eggs without adding anything. I have no idea what the syrup would have done to it. We'll just have to pretend.

Fold into chocolate mixture.

Clean beaters.

Beat egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar and beat to soft peaks; add confectioners' sugar; continue beating to stiff peaks. (Mixture should just hold the weight of a raw egg in the shell when the egg is placed on top.)

Vigorously stir one-quarter of whipped whites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold remaining whites into mixture until just incorporated.

Fill each ramekin almost to rim, wiping excess filling from rim with wet paper towel. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until fully risen, about 16 to 18 minutes. (Souffle is done when fragrant and fully risen. Use two large spoons to pull open the top and peek inside. If not yet done, place back in oven.) Serve immediately.

Look! It worked!

Guess what is tricky about making a souffle? Knowing when it's done when I've never even seen a souffle in person much less tasted one. Tricky business.


  1. They were lovely. Light, fluffy and nothing like custard. Not like custard, but tasty.

    Way to go Chef.

  2. i love america's test kitchen. i have like 5 of their cookbooks. =) (if you ever want to borrow...)
    this looks DELICIOUS! well done you!