Thursday, February 12, 2009

.chocolate souffle.

Ahhhh chocolate souffle...or should I say pure unadulterated pleasure in a ramekin.  Oh how I love thee!  This dessert recipe is the cherry on top of the cake for your Valentine Dinner.  Are you folks ready to start cooking?

Remember, you can do a lot of your prep tomorrow if you have time, that way you aren't killing yourself on Saturday.  It is a good thing Valentine's Day falls on a weekend though, right?  I really hope if you make this menu for your special love, that you'll come back and let me know how it goes.  Deal?

Okay.. back to the pot of pure pleasure.  I have to admit something.  This is the first time I have ever made a souffle.  I guess I've always been intimidated by it and thought they took so much work and time.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  Seriously.  It really isn't difficult.  You just have to know what you're doing and that's where I come in.  You are going to WOW the socks off your husband or wife if you make this for them.  Really.  So don't be afraid.  Just follow me. :)

Take 4 ramekins and butter the bottom and sides.  Dust with regular sugar.  This recipe will probably make up to six souffles, so if you have enough ramekins, by all means.. make six!

These ramekins need to go back into the fridge to sit while we make the souffle.

You need to melt 4 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa) over a double boiler on very very low heat.  You don't want your chocolate to get too hot.  A tip.  When the chocolate starts melting, turn the heat off and just let the heat melt it.

Once it's melted, just set it aside for now.

Separate five eggs, saving only 3 of the yolks.  You need all of the 5 egg whites so do not discard them.  I put my eggs on the counter to warm up a little before starting my souffles.  You will get more volume when it comes time to whip.

Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl with 1/4 cup sugar.  Whisk on high for 3 minutes.  At that time, the yolks and sugar will be really pale and fluffy.

Add 2 Tbsp flour and whisk again on high.  The mixture will start thickening now.  Make sure you scrape the sides of your mixing bowl to ensure everything is incorporated.

I didn't tell you beforehand, but you need to heat 1 cup milk just until it's warm.  Do not let it come to a boil.  While the mixer is on low speed, slowly add the milk into your egg yolk mixture.  Once the milk has been added, turn onto high speed and whisk for a minute.

Pour the entire milk/yolk mixture back into the saucepan and put on a medium burner.  You need to stay right on this and whisk getting into the corners because it will burn and try to stick on you.  So keep whisking.  It will start thickening up a little.  Once it starts thickening, REMOVE THE PAN FROM THE BURNER and whisk whisk whisk just to make sure nothing's sticking.

I returned this BACK to the mixer bowl and whisked again on high heat to make sure I had it whipped real good.

Add the melted chocolate and whisk again on high for a minute.

This is your creme patisserie and the base of your souffle.  If you aren't quite ready to go all the way with your souffle, then put a sheet of saran over the top of this mix, pressing it to seal tight on the surface of the patisserie.  Keep in a warm place.

I'm pretty sure this is how far a restaurant goes with their souffles.  Then when someone orders one, all they have to do is fold in the egg whites and bake.  Pretty amazing process, I'm sure.

Okay.. ready for the next step?  You're almost there!

If you only have one mixing bowl and whisk attachment, you're going to need to move the creme patisserie to another bowl, wash your mixing bowl well and drying it completely, and clean your whisk.  You need a very clean bowl to get your whites to whip up.

Put the 5 egg whites in the bowl with a pinch of cream of tartar.  Whip on high.  When you have soft peaks, sprinkle in 2 Tbsp sugar.  Continue to beat until you have firm peaks.  Little fluffy clouds of goodness!

Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate.  This will lighten up the base.  Add the remaining whites and quickly fold in before they deflate.  If there are striations in the batter, it's okay.  

Pull the ramekins from the oven and ladle the souffle filling into each one.  Fill just up to where the lip flutes out.

Put these into a preheated 400* oven for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes are up, pull these from the oven.  Make sure when they're baking that you don't open the oven for any reason.  The egg whites give the souffle the lift and bouyancy that make this dessert so spectacular and so indulgent.

Dust lightly with cocoa or powdered sugar.  If you want to serve this with a little whipped cream or ice cream, go right on ahead.

So is it as intimidating as you think a souffle appears to be?  If you can whip egg whites, or make a cream pie filling, you can make these!  I know I'm not scared anymore.  I even have a recipe for a lemon souffle that I'll have to try sometime.  

Thank you to all of you who are taking this Valentine dinner journey with me.  I hope you have much success and I hope the hearts and stomachs of those you love are filled this holiday weekend.


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