Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Decadent Yet Easy: Chocolate Souffle

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These are things of beauty. Make these souffles, and your dinner guests or date will think you went through a lot of trouble. Joe's sister, Shannon (sous chef, photographer, and food stylist for this post), has been a fan of this souffle for years, and I showed her how simple the recipe is so she can make souffle without having to wait to visit here. They're also gluten-free and therefore perfect for her, and a light dessert: little sugar, some egg whites, only 1 yolk, and no flour. I'd give credit for the recipe, but I found it on some website years ago and don't remember where. That's my disclaimer!

Chocolate Souffle by Unknown Gourmet
1/2 tbs unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used 70% cacao Lindt Excellence)
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 tbs cornstarch
1 egg yolk
3 egg whites
2 tbs sugar, plus more for ramekins

Preheat oven to 400°. Butter and sugar four 6-oz. ramekins. That will help in removal of the souffles from the ramekins. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or bowl set over a pot of simmering water), and set aside to cool. Have a tea kettle of boiling water ready.

Combine the milk and cornstarch in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring continously. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate. Let it cool slightly and stir in the egg yolk.

Whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, as seen in photo. Add the sugar at this point and increase the speed to high, whipping until stiff peaks form, as shown. Lighten the chocolate mix by blending it with a third of the egg whites. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until no white remains. Spoon the mixture into ramekins sitting in a baking dish. Place the baking dish in the oven, and pour the tea kettle of boiling water in to create a bath, halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 18 to 20 minutes.

If your souffles look like this, they're not quite done. Return them to the oven for a few more minutes.
Done souffles should look like this, rising above the rim. They will begin to fall almost immediately. You can serve them fresh out of the oven, and let your guests poke holes in the middle and fill them with whipped cream or caramel sauce.
Or you can wait 10 minutes, invert them on to plates, and decorate like so, with confectioners sugar and chocolate sauce. Either way, they'll be sure to impress!