Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chocolate Souffle

Does the term Souffle scare you a little?  It sure scared me when my husband (boyfriend at the time) told me he would like a Chocolate Souffle for his birthday 20 years ago.  His step-mother always made one for him, and he wanted me to pick up the tradition.  Much to my surprise and delight I found it wasn't difficult at all.  The really nice part is you can do most of the work a day or two ahead of time and assemble it at the last minute before putting it into the oven.  It takes over an hour to bake, so it cooks while you eat.  Souffle needs to be served the second it comes out of the oven because it begins to deflate as soon as cold air hits it.

I found a recipe in a Gourmet cookbook and it looked like it would be pretty easy.  I've been using the same recipe ever since.

Chocolate Souffle

2 tablespoons butter
2 (1 ounce) squares of unsweetened chocolate, chopped roughly
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons quick tapioca
2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon gound mace
3 eggs, plus 1 egg white

Heavy cream for whipping

You must have a double boiler of some sort for this.  I use a sauce pan with a metal bowl set on top. 

Put about 1 inch of water in the bottom of a sauce pan and bring it to a simmer.  In a metal bowl, that will sit on top of the sauce pan, add the chopped chocolate and the butter.  Set the bowl on the sauce pan and allow the chocolate and butter to melt together.  Do not let the bowl touch the hot water.

Stir until well blended.

Mix the flour, salt, sugar and tapioca together.

Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture to make a thick paste.

Add the milk gradually and stir to combine.

Now you have to stir the mixture and cook it for about 20 minutes.  This is the only time consuming part, but it can be done a couple of days ahead of time.  Once the base is made you are set until just before it goes into the oven.  After about 20 minutes the mixture will get quite thick.  Remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm if you are going to continue, or cover and refrigerate until you are ready to proceed.

The next thing you have to do is separate your eggs.  You need 4 whites, but 3 yolks.  I just throw the extra yolk away, but you can save it if you have a way to use it.  You can do this part ahead of time too if you have room in your refrigerator to store the two extra bowls.  Make sure the whites go into a bowl large enough for whipping.  They will increase in volume quite a bit.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and butter and flour a round, high casserole or souffle dish.  Add the mace to the chocolate mixture.  Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemony.
Stir the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture.

Clean the beaters thoroughly.  Even a bit of egg yolk will keep the whites from whipping properly.  You want to beat the whites until you have stiff peaks.  Stir a small amount of the whites into the chocolate to lighten it.

After you have mixed the spoonful of whites into the chocolate, fold the chocolate into the remaining egg whites.

You fold by using a rubber spatula to cut across the middle of the mixture and down to the bottom.  Then bring the spatula up the side and over the top.  Turn the bowl 1/4 turn and repeat.  Do this until the chocolate is mixed in, but not so much that you have taken all the air out of the egg whites. 

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.  Place a larger pan in the oven and add about 1 inch of hot water.  Put the souffle into that pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Whip your cream and have everything ready.  You will serve it as soon as it is done cooking.  I took a picture, but it had already deflated a little by the time I got the camera.  It doesn't affect the taste when it deflates, it just doesn't look as fancy. 

A souffle doesn't require expensive ingredients.  It does take a bit of work, but it is so impressive and very tasty.  There is only a little sugar in it as well, so it is a fairly healthy dessert.  Go ahead, give it a try.  One year my son decided he wanted a blueberry souffle for his birthday.  I gave it a try and it was terrific.  We also love to have cheese souffle for brunch.  Once you try one, you will likly get hooked.