Soufflé au Chocolat: Simple, Not Scary

Aug 24, 2016

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Like many people perhaps, I have an unabashed fascination with Julia Child. As I mentioned in this week’s Petit Plaisir, Julia Child’s approach to cooking reveals her sincere passion for French food, the quality ingredients, the no fuss-presentation, and most importantly, ensuring absolutely delicious flavor.

And it was the sixth season of The Great British Baking Show airing on PBS in which the technical challenge was to bake a soufflé au chocolat or chocolate soufflé that I began to want to make my own. Having only made pop-overs which only resemble a chocolate soufflé in the aspect of the beautiful rise and more light-weight texture, I was eager to try my very own Soufflé au Chocolat. But I must admit, due to the fact that I had never ate one or watched someone cook it, I was intimidated.  But why? How had I conjured the idea that this was a difficult dish? The key in this false fear was that I simply didn’t know what it involved. Could I do it? Was there a special trick? The trick, if you will call it that, was to follow Julia Child’s recipe and all will be just fine.

Key Things to Remember:

  • The soufflé will indeed fall quickly when you take it out, so have your guests ready so they can see it in all its glory.
  • Putting either tin foil or parchment around the entire edge and securing with either string or tape and rising 3 inches above the dish is crucial to helping keep rising and not falling over the dish.
  • Have fun. It’s really not that hard. Julia’s instructions (which I have pretty much wrote as she did –
  • I note the exceptions), are very helpful. 
  • If you want to put into smaller ramekins for individual servings, take it out of the oven about 10 minutes sooner.

Soufflé au Chocolat

adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (p. 619)
yields: 6-8 servings

Utensils:

  • a double boiler or a glass/metal bowl to set atop a small saucepan (for mixing the chocolate and coffee)
  • A 2 to 2 1/2-quart soufflé dish (similar to above image)
  • 2-quart saucepan
  • whisk

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (top quality), I choose dark chocolate from Scharffen Berger
  • 1/3 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 Tablespoon unsalted butter (softened) + 3 Tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks (save the whites)
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites (@ 3/4 cup)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (Fahrenheit)
  2. Place the chocolate and coffee in the small pan/bowl, cover, and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water. Remove from heat and let the chocolate melt while you proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  3. Smear the inside of the dish with the butter. Surround with a collar of buttered aluminum foil (I recommend parchment paper and tying with a string around the soufflé dish) to reach 3 inches above the rim of the dish. Set out all of the rest of the ingredients called for (mise en place!)
  4. Measure the flour into the saucepan. Start whisking in the milk by dribbles at first to make a perfectly smooth cream; rapidly whisk in the rest. Add the butter, and stir over moderate heat until boiling; boil, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and beat 1 minute or so to cool slightly.
  5. One by one, whisk the egg yolks into the hot sauce, then the smoothly melted chocolate, and finally the vanilla.
  6. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed. Then, by sprinkles, beat in the sugar and continue  until stiff shining peaks are formed.
  7. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the side of the egg white bowl; delicately fold them together. Turn the soufflé mixture into the prepared mold and set on a rack in the lower level of the preheated oven. Just as you’ve placed the soufflé in the oven, turn down the thermostat to 375 degrees.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes. To determine if it is done, use a skewer and plunge it through a surface crack. If it comes out clean, it is time to enjoy . . . immediately. Serve with ice cream, sweetened whipped cream or crème anglaise (p. 588 in her cookbook)

~TSLL FRENCH WEEK posts so far in 2016 (#tsllfrenchweek):

~What I’ve Learned Since French Class, So Far: Part Trois

~Style Inspiration: French Street Style

~How to Be Chic with Fiona Ferris (podcast)

~10 Fantastique French-Inspired Blogs

~Why Not . . . Be Fascinated by the French Culture?

~Find more TSLL Recipes here.



3 thoughts on “Soufflé au Chocolat: Simple, Not Scary

  1. I used to make it when my children were home. I substitute Grand Marnier for the vanilla. Cheese soufflés are done the same but with different ingredients. Both are relatively easy and I never had either fall!

  2. This has been on my to-do list for a while. As soon as the weather cools and I can stand to light the oven, I will do it. Chocolate and cheese. It will be an excuse to go hunting for a good soufflé dish.

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