Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nov 14, 2010: Daring Cooks Souffle

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

There are basically two parts to a soufflé recipe: the base and the egg whites. For savory soufflés, the base is usually a thick roux-based sauce made of butter, flour and milk or stock – to which you add the flavoring ingredients and the egg yolks. Sweet soufflés are based on a crème patisserie, or thick custard. The egg whites are beaten separately so that they incorporate lots of air bubbles; then the egg whites are folded into the base and the mixture spooned into a soufflé dish. After baking in the oven, the soufflé will magically rise. However, be warned that what goes up must come down: even a perfect soufflé will start to ‘deflate’ once you remove it from the oven - so be sure to serve it (or photograph it!) as soon as possible. In fact, Dave and Linda think the photographic aspect of this project may turn out to be more difficult than the culinary part.

[Eat4fun: I've always wanted to give a go at making a souffle. Here's my chance.
I'm typically a savory kind of guy, but this time around I choose the chocolate souffle.]

Chocolate Souffle
Adapted From BBC Good Food Recipe by Gordon Ramsay


2 Tbsp (30 ml) 1 oz (30g) unsalted butter, for greasing
Cocoa powder or finely grated chocolate

2 tbsp (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tsp (10 gm) (0.35 oz) caster (superfine) sugar (regular sugar is OK)
½ tsp (4½ gm) (0.15 oz) corn starch (aka cornflour)
1 medium egg yolk
1 medium whole egg
4 Tbsp (60 ml) milk
5 Tbsp (75 ml) heavy cream (or double cream)
3 oz (90gm) good-quality dark chocolate preferably 70+% cocoa solids, broken in pieces
2 Tbsp (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
Optional: 2 tsp orange zest or 2 tsp minced chipotle chile en adobo or 1 tsp chipotle chile powder. (The chile version is a Monkeyshines favorite!) Optional: powdered sugar for dusting

6 medium egg whites
6½ Tbsp (95 ml) 3 oz (90g) superfine/caster sugar (if you don’t have it, regular sugar is OK)

1. Heat oven to moderate 375 ˚F/190 ˚C/gas mark 5.

2. Take four 1 cup/~240ml soufflé dishes and brush them completely with softened butter. Tip a little cocoa powder or grated chocolate into each dish, roll the dish around tilting it as you do so it is evenly lined all round.

[Instead of four 1 C ramekins, I used a larger 2 quart Pyrex dish.]

3. For the crème patisserie, mix the flour, sugar and corn starch into a small bowl. Put egg yolk and whole egg into a medium sized bowl, beat lightly, then beat in half of the flour mixture to give a smooth paste. Tip in the rest of the flour mixture and cocoa powder and mix well.

[The egg yolk mixture is pretty straightforward.]

[Amazing how the cocoa powder will mix in to form this very dark high viscosity liquid.]

4. To make the ganache, pour the milk and cream into a pan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and beat until it is melted and smooth with no lumps.

[Whoa! This ganache is very watery, not like any ganache I've made in the past. Hopefully, the thick egg yolk mixture will compensate for the watery ganache.]

5. Gradually stir hot chocolate ganache into the paste from step 3, and add the orange zest or chile if using. This is your crème patisserie.

6. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks with an electric whisk. Sprinkle in the sugar as you are mixing. Keep whisking to give stiff, firm peaks to give volume to the soufflés.

[Stiff Peaks. You must have patience with whipping egg whites to stiff peaks. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes so don't give up.]

7. Stir about 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the beaten egg whites into the crème patisserie. Carefully fold in a third of the rest, cutting through the mixture. Fold in another third (take
care not to lose the volume), then fold in the rest.

[Stirred in what was on the beaters plus a little more to lighten up the patisserie.]

[Adding the egg whites 1/3rd at a time.]

8. Spoon the mixture into the dishes. Run a spoon across the top of each dish so the mixture is completely flat. Take a little time to wipe any splashes off the outside of each dish, or they will burn on while cooking.

[Another trick is to wipe the edge of the dish so the mixture forms a little trench between the dish and the mixture. This is supposed to help the souffle rise in the center.]

9. Bake the soufflés for 15-17 minutes. [For a larger dish, I baked about 20 minutes and used a skewer to check for doneness. The skewer should come out clean. I ended up cooking for 30 minutes, but probably could have pulled the souffle out at 25.]

[The next three photos show the rising during cooking.
Just into the 350F oven.]

[About 15 minutes into the cooking.]

[About 20 minutes into cooking. A skewer was used to test for doneness. At 20 minutes, the skewer came out wet so the souffle was allowed to bake another 10 minutes.]

10. The soufflés should have risen by about two thirds of their original height and jiggle when moved, but be set on top.

[The souffle out of the oven after 30 minutes of baking.
A bit overcooked where the souffle seems a little dry. The skewer came out very clean.]

[No fancy plating.
We just dug into the souffle.
The final results were drier than I expected with the texture of a angel food cake. A soft, airy cake. Surprisingly very light, chocolatey and not overly sweet.

We remedied the dryness with a generous dollop of whipped cream. :-) ]

Overall, the chocolate souffle/angel food cake was delicious.

I will probably try the recipe again, but bake only 25 minutes before checking with a skewer. Also, I'll probably try a savory recipe. I'm on the fence whether souffles will become part of my standard recipe collection.


Sarah said...

Your souffle looks lovely; well done. I tried a savoury version and really liked it--I was surprised that it wasn't as hard as I thought. I think a lemon souffle would be a nice next one to try. What about you? Would you make one again?

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

Great job on the challenge John - your chocolate souffle! You really did get a great lift from it

Anonymous said...

Nicely done. Excellent explanation of why you wipe the top edge.

Lisa said...

Beautiful chocolate souffle, John, a little dry or ice cream or some kind of moist topping is rapidly ansorbed by the souffle, so, voila, moist cakey souffle :)

On another note..YES, my souffles tested positive for PED'S (Plenty of Egg White Distribution). They're suspended from rising next season LOL