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
- 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
Soufflé au Chocolat
- 7 ounces 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 unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 egg yolks save the egg whites
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 egg whites about 3/4 cup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees (Fahrenheit)
- 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.
- 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!)
- 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.
- One by one, whisk the egg yolks into the hot sauce, then the smoothly melted chocolate, and finally the vanilla.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
~How to Be Chic with Fiona Ferris (podcast)
~Find more TSLL Recipes here.