Just the sound of the word soufflé brings fear to the hearts of even the most experienced cooks. The delicate texture, the time-sensitive nature . . . it just seems too difficult to attempt. Soufflé, loosely translated, means “full of air,” which is exactly how you create it. This incorporation of air creates something magical. A fluffy, puffed-up, melt-in-your-mouth soufflé. Even if you don’t get it perfect, it’s something you’ve gotta try at least once.
What’s in it. Classically, a soufflé consists of a starch-thickened egg-yolk base and whipped egg whites. The starch makes the soufflé more stable, and the whipped egg whites create the air and height. Chocolate soufflé has the addition of melted chocolate to the egg yolks. The egg whites are beaten to create a meringue, incorporated into the base, and baked until it grows into a puffy, gooey soufflé with a crispy top.
Temperature is key. Make sure all your ingredients are brought to room temperature before beginning. The eggs especially need to be at room temperature so they will whip up firmly and provide height and structure for the soufflé. Don’t overwhip or underwhip the meringue. It should be stiff, not liquidy or crumbly.
Be patient. No peeking while the soufflés are baking! Soufflés are so delicate, the slightest draft of air or movement can cause them to fall. A sunken soufflé is not what you want.
Eat it at once! This is not a dish you prepare on Friday and serve for dessert Shabbos lunch. Soufflés must be served immediately after they come out of the oven. This is crucial because soufflés only retain their magical puffed-up deliciousness for a short window of time.
Add to it. To make it even more rich, cut a pocket in the soufflé and fill it with chocolate or caramel sauce and serve with ice cream. v
½ cup sugar, plus more to coat ramekins
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp. instant coffee
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
6 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter six 8-oz. ramekins generously and sprinkle with sugar. Place ramekins on baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water. When melted, whisk in egg yolks, coffee, vanilla, and salt.
While the chocolate is melting, whip egg whites in a stand mixer until foamy. While mixer is running, slowly stream in sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Add a third of the egg-white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in rest of the egg whites till just incorporated. (A few streaks of egg white is fine.)
Divide mixture into prepared ramekins, wiping rims clean of any drips. Bake until tops are set and begin to brown but center is still slightly jiggly, 15–20 minutes. Do not open the oven to check in between. Remove from oven, dust with powdered sugar, and serve immediately. Garnish with whipped cream or serve with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.
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