Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chocolate Soufflés

I thought maybe I should take a little photo break and insert a recipe at this point.

So, I'd been trying to find a chocolate soufflé that worked for me. I've tried a few times, but have inevitably found that the soufflés don't quite work for me as the recipes might suggest. They've turned out overall dry and crispy, mostly a shell with little chocolate flavor. 

But apparently, if something chocolatey is overcooked just a little, there's a good chance it will be flavorless. The chocolate flavor disappears with too much heat- it's cooked out of the cake or brownies or whatever.

I like a good soufflé with a thin and crispy shell, but a creamy, moist, slightly spongy interior. 

And so, in the search for a good chocolate soufflé, I've ended up collecting chocolate soufflé recipes. 

Not that I've ended up trying them all. I mean, I wanted to find a good one, but there's a bit of apprehension for me with chocolate soufflés for some reason. I want to find what I'm looking for, but I think I may just be disappointed with the effort in the end. 

Hm, I guess that would be a reason.



This one is based on a recipe I copied in Australia. I can't tell you where the original came from (so sorry). The good news is that I don't think I'll be looking for another chocolate soufflé recipe for a while. 

For a bit of extra decadence, add a shower of confectioner's sugar and a dollop of chocolate ganache to finish.

And just remember, a soufflé waits for no man. It'll fall, no matter what. Be prepared to pull them out of the oven, dress them up, and send them out to table.

Chocolate Soufflés
makes 6-7 soufflés in 4 oz (125ml) -5 oz ramekins

Softened butter for greasing ramekins
Granulated sugar for dusting buttered ramekins
8 oz (226 g) good quality 60-70% chocolate
2 T (30 ml) coffee or espresso
4T (56 g) unsalted butter, chopped into about 8 pieces
A couple pinches of salt (if using salted butter, omit the pinches of salt altogether)
3 large egg yolks
7 large egg whites
1/4 t vanilla extract (let's just call it a small splash)
1/3 c (60 g) granulated sugar 
Confectioner's sugar, for serving

(for optional ganache topping:
4 oz (113 g) good quality 60-70% chocolate
1/3 c (80 ml) heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C) with a rack set in the center of the oven.
Brush the insides of ramekins with softened butter. Spoon sugar into one ramekin and rotate the ramekin so that the inside surface is coated with sugar. Pour the sugar from one ramekin into the next, coat the inside, and so on until each ramekin has a layer of butter and sugar. Set aside. 
Place a medium pan with a couple inches of water in it over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, place the chocolate, coffee, butter and one pinch of salt in a large heatproof bowl over the pan of simmering water. Stir the chocolate mixture occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Remove the pan from over the pan of simmering water and whisk in the 3 egg yolks. Set aside.
In a medium bowl and using an electric hand blender, whisk the 7 egg whites with a pinch of salt and the vanilla extract. When the eggs are very frothy and foamy, slowly add the sugar all the while continuing to whisk until the mixture is glossy white and soft peaks form.
Carefully whisk about 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it up. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold about 1/2 of the remaining egg white into the mixture until just incorporated. Repeat with the remaining egg whites. Do not over mix- you don't want to deflate the egg whites and lose all that volume.
Divide the soufflé mixture between the prepared ramekins. 
Place the ramekins on a pan and place the pan in the oven. Bake the soufflés about 10 minutes, until the soufflés have puffed and risen above the rims of the dishes. 
Immediately remove the soufflés from the oven one by one with a pair of tongs to waiting plates. Sift confectioner's sugar over the top and spoon a truffle-sized dollop of ganache into the center of each if desired. 
Serve immediately.

To make ganache:
Chop chocolate and place in a small heatproof bowl.
Heat cream to a simmer over medium heat in a small saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let it sit for a few minutes, and stir to combine until completely smooth and glossy. If the chocolate is still not completely melted, place the bowl over a small pan of simmering water, stirring frequently until completely melted. 
Set aside until ready to use.


  1. If I make this early in the day or the day before can I bake it before dinner---will it be as good or is it best made, baked and served?
    Have you tried it? Does this mean the chef can't eat w/ the party folks?

    1. It'll be best made fresh and eaten fresh.
      With the high heat and short cooking time, if made earlier in the day and baked straight out of the fridge, the outside with be cooked and the inside very gooey.
      However, I've not tried making it early, pulling it out of the fridge to warm up a bit, and then baking. I'm not sure how well it would work.
      The chef can eat with the party folks, but I think the party folks would probably have to understand that the chef needed to leave to take care of dessert. In that case, perhaps it's better for a more casual crowd.

    2. I get it---the chef can wear sneakers then?

  2. Yep. For the dual purpose of casualness and running.

  3. Is this your favorite dessert?

  4. I don't know that I can say that... I'm not sure I could pick a favorite dessert, it sort of depends.