Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate Souffle

My go to desert anytime we go to a restaurant is Molten Lava Cake - or whatever they call their particular variation. You can't really go wrong with fudgy, oozing chocolate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It we ever end up getting a different dessert we almost always wish we had gone with the molten lava cake in the long run.

What is with this preamble you ask? Well, Chocolate Souffle=Molten Lava Cake.

After seeing Chocolate Souffle on an episode of Master Chef Season 1 Hunter longed to try it. So, when there was a recipe for it in my new Williams Sonoma Essentials of Baking Cookbook, that was the first thing he wanted me to make. 

Honestly, up to this point I had heard of a souffle, but had no idea what it was. We even had to go on a hunt for souffle pans - and ended up with both a 2 qt. souffle dish and 8 little Ramekins (which are the options given in the recipe). Neither of us really had any idea what to expect when I took it out of the oven and were super skeptical about how jiggly it was and the amount of ooziness inside. 

After a quick internet search, we decided that the end product was close enough to what it was supposed to be and dug right in. 

Oh. My. Goodness. It was SOOOO good! The first one I made in the big pan (pictured right above). Between the two of us, we ate the whole thing. We started out with only about half of it but quickly went back for a second helping. The next day I still was not over how good it was, and luckily neither was Hunter, so I made another batch. The second time around though, I halved the recipe and used the little Ramekins we had bought. It was every bit as delightful and also more practical since there are only two of us. This is definitely something that will be made again and again in our house.

Another great thing about this souffle is that is is made from fairly common, inexpensive pantry items. Score. 

The recipe listed below is the full recipe, but if you feel like that is a little much (I realize not everyone has the same love of chocolate that my husband and I do) then feel free to half it. 

Yield: 6 servings

8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, separated
1/8 tsp salt (just a pinch if you are halving it)
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (we opted for vanilla ice cream)

Pan Options:
One 1 1/2 qt (I could only find a 1 and 2 qt pan so those would work great as well) souffle dish -or-
Eight 6 oz ramekins (the original calls for six 8 oz ramekins but those don't seem to exist)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees for a large souffle or 400 degrees for individual souffles. Butter the pan(s) of your choice and dust the bottom and sides with sugar.

Place the chocolate in the top of a double broiler placed over barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate is melted. remove from above the water and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tarter on medium high until soft peaks form. Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. *

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks until thick and pale in color. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and the vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate.

Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whites just until no white streaks remain. Spoon into the prepared dish(es).

Bake the souffle until set and puffed and the center still jiggles when the dish is gently shaken, 25-30 minutes for the large one or 8-10 minutes for the individual ones. Serve immediately.

*Tips for whipping egg whites: Use a clean large bowl. Any fat or grease (butter, egg yolk) will impede the fluffiness you are trying to achieve. Always use room temperature egg whites. Unlined copper or stainless steel are the best bowl options. If you are adding sugar, start adding it very slowly once the egg whites are foamy. Us a balloon whisk, a handheld mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. If using a mixer start on medium speed and increase to medium high as the whites thicken.

Source: Williams Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, recipe pg. 201, egg white instructions pg 26

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