Dark Chocolate Soufflés


Soufflés tend to have a certain mystique around them for some people. They see it as a delicate dessert that is fickle and temperamental. Only people who really know what they're doing can pull off a good soufflé. None of that is true. When you accept the fact that the soufflés will fall, they become just another dessert that anyone can do.


Soufflés and mousses are very similar except for two things: what holds them up and the temperature. Mousses are held together by gelatin, which is set in the fridge and therefore cold. Soufflés are held up by hot air and are, obviously, hot. Once the soufflés have been out of the oven for a few minutes, they will fall, but the airy texture remains. 


There is no particularly tricky part in making a soufflé. If you can whisk and fold, you're golden. The only thing to be careful of is gently folding the egg whites into the chocolate cream, but really, it's not that hard. 


Now that you know that soufflés aren't as hard as the legends say, you can serve them up at a dinner party fresh out of the oven and every will be totally impressed. It's not lying if you don't tell them it was easy. 


A super helpful tip that I only learned yesterday was that you can freeze egg whites! For up to a year! Do you know how many egg whites I have thrown out in the past few weeks? Enough to make a few dozens soufflés! You can put each individual egg white into an ice cube tray to freeze and then pop them into a plastic bag. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight and they're perfect for meringues, soufflés, or scrambled eggs. 

I'm a bit choked that I wasted so many egg whites when I could have been saving them... 





Dark Chocolate Soufflés
Recipe from Food of France

Crème pâtissière
6 free range, organic egg yolks
1/2 cup superfine (caster) sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 1/4 (560 mL) milk
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon (15 g) butter

Soufflés
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons chocolate or coffee liqueur (optional)
3 oz (85 g) dark chocolate, chopped
12 egg whites
3 tablespoons superfine (caster) sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup superfine (caster) sugar

Make the crème pâtissière first. Whisk together the egg yolks and half the sugar (1/4 cup) until pale and creamy. Add the cornstarch and flour and mix together.

Put the milk, remaining sugar, and vanilla bean in a saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to just a boil. Pour a ladle full of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the rest of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture.

Rinse out the saucepan if you are using the same one, or get out another saucepan. Transfer the egg and milk mixture into the clean saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil again. It will be very lumpy at first, but it will smooth out as you stir. Boil for 2 minutes, then take off the heat and stir in the butter. Let it cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and put a baking sheet in the oven to warm up. Brush the inside of your ramekins with the softened butter. Pour a little bit of caster sugar in each ramekin and tilt the ramekin so the sides are coated evenly with sugar. Knock out any excess sugar.

If you make the crème pâtissière beforehand and it is now completely cooled, place it in a bowl over a pot of simmering water to warm it back up. Remove from the heat and stir in the dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and liqueur (if using). 

Beat the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the sugar gradually to make a stiff glossy mixture. Whisk half the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Pour into the prepared ramekins. Run your thumb around the inside rim of each ramekin to help the soufflés rise without sticking. 

Put the ramekins on the hot baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the side of the soufflé comes out clean or slightly moist. Dust with sifted icing sugar and serve immediately. 

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