Saturday, March 13, 2010

No Fear Chocolate Soufflé

Today's little cooking project was chocolate soufflé. I made it for the first time two summers ago after reading an article about it in the Sunday newspaper. The article explained that it was and arduous and daunting task but that it was well worth the work. I guess that chocolate soufflé is just one of those things that most people want to be able to make "some day". Well, the day has come people.

Let me explain the basics of the soufflé. We start off with a roux (pronounced "roo"), which is essentially just flour and butter, and add milk to it to create a white sauce. Then, melted chocolate, egg yolk and sugar is added to this. Egg whites are them beaten up and folded into the mixture. Then, its all baked up in buttered and sugared "ramekins" and ready to eat within 20 minutes. It's as easy as that. See, there's nothing to be afraid of!

(above) A snazzy black and white shot of the egg whites beaten to form "stiff peaks". For those like myself, who don't have a Kitchen Aid or an electric mixer, you're just going to have to suck it up and beat the egg whites vigorously with a whisk. It's not a big deal - around 5 minutes and you're done.

Chocolate Soufflés
Serves 6
10g unsalted butter, melted, to grease
60g caster sugar, divided
30g unsalted butter
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
200ml milk
6eggs, separated
150g dark semi-sweet chocolate, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat at the same time. Brush six 200ml-capacity ramekins with melted butter. Sprinkle with some sugar to coat; shake out excess.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan until foamy. Add flour, cook, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbles. Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat, cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the remaining sugar, two egg yolks and chocolate.
  3. Beat six egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir one-quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest. Spoon mixture into prepared ramekins, leaving 1/2in (1cm) below rim. Gently tap base of each ramekin on work surface to remove air pockets. Smooth tops; place on hot baking tray. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until puffed. Serve right away, dusted with icing sugar or served with cream if desired.

I don't have ramekins, so I opted for coffee cups. I used chocolate chips for this and melted them using 30 seconds on High in the microwave. For those of you who enjoy reading food descriptions (I know I do!), here is a little something: this chocolate soufflé is light and airy, but decadent with a rich chocolaty flavor that envelops the whole soufflé. The butter and sugar coating creates a crunchy caramel that contrasts with the lightness of the soufflé.

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