Monday, January 18, 2010

Chocolate Souffle

The problem with keeping a well-stocked kitchen is when impulsive ideas come to mind, you actually have the tools on hand to make them ... which is how I ended up making my first souffle.  I wanted chocolate.  Brownies would not do.  Cookies seemed overdone.  A cake or pie would make way too much food.  The idea of a souffle had been planted ironically enough by a savoury dish ... Parmesan souffle.  It seemed like a good challenge ... to be daring and fearless with dessert.  So without time to over-analyze and all of the ingredients on hand (except for substituting 2% milk for whole milk), it was time for a great experiment (and delicious success).  This recipe has been scaled down to 1/3 its original size.

Chocolate Souffle (from epicurious)

3.5 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate
between 1/3 and 1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp cornstarch
1 large egg yolks, room temperature, lightly beaten
2 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tbsp sugar; more for soufflé ramekins

1. Heat oven to 400F. Butter and two six 6-ounce soufflé ramekins. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; set aside.
2. Melt chocolate (the microwave works!).
3. In a small heavy-bottom saucepan combine milk and cornstarch. Stir well with a wooden spoon to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously, until thick.
4. Remove milk mixture from the heat and stir in warm melted chocolate. Let cool slightly. Add lightly beaten egg yolks and stir until well combined.
5. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, whip egg whites on medium speed until foamy (if you want to cheat and add cream of tartar because you're nervous about your ability to beat egg whites, I won't judge). Slowly add sugar and increase speed to high. Whip until shiny and stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
6. Using a whisk, lighten the chocolate mixture with about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites. Stir until well-combined. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in remaining egg whites until just incorporated.
7. Spoon mixture into prepared souffle ramekins; the mixture should come up to the top of the ramekin. Transfer filled soufflé ramekins on rimmed baking sheet to oven. Bake until risen, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

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