In the February 2014 issue of Cook’s Illustrated I read a really interesting article about soufflés. One of the things I love about CI is how they experiment with recipes so that you can get the very best results at home. In the soufflé article they mentioned using a copper bowl to whisk the egg whites to a soft (non dry) peak. For some reason there’s a chemical reaction that happens between the copper ions in the bowl and the egg whites. This reaction produces a more stable egg white. I mentioned this to Hubby and my father in law, who is a retired chemistry teacher (who also loves to bake) and we ended up having a pretty interesting conversation about Kitchen Chemistry. Imagine my surprise when I opened my birthday present and saw that Hubby had bought me my very own copper bowl to experiment with!
National Chocolate Soufflé Day (Feb.28) has come and gone. I meant to post this up nearer to the date but so many other posts came first. I’ve been visiting a lot of restaurants for the Big Taste Calgary and also trying to finish up travel posts from New Orleans. It may not seem like it some days but I am still cooking and experimenting in the kitchen.
In celebration of National Chocolate Soufflé Day, Calgary’s Avenue Magazine did a feature on a local pastry chef and her take on Chocolate Soufflé. Karine Moulin is the pastry chef at Yellow door Bistro, Hotel Arts, and Raw Bar but has also recently become a contestant on Top Chef Canada, season 4. She generously shared her recipe and tips for making a perfect Chocolate Soufflé and I gobbled up the chance to make one!
The whole recipe began with chocolate.
I started out with the yolks in the Kitchen Aid mixer but there didn’t seem to be enough contact between the small amount and the beaters. I transferred them into the copper bowl and beat them by hand with the hot water and sugar.It took quite a while and we’ll just say my whisking muscles definitely need to be worked on. I got Hubby to do some of the beating as well. After the yolks were beaten into ribbons, I folded them into the cooled chocolate, cleaned THE BOWL and got started on the egg whites. These whisked up in no time though my muscles were aching….and I had to get kids number three and two to take turns. We’ll just call this the ‘Family Soufflé’ then or ‘the family that soufflés together, stays together’. I thought the egg whites took on a bit of a greenish hue but I wasn’t totally sure. Eventually they got to the stiff peak stage and I began to fold them into the chocolate mixture.After the mixture was folded entirely it went into some greased and sugared ramekins. I didn’t fill them to the brim so I couldn’t really level the mixture off. I may try doing this the next time so I get a nice even top.We all hung around anxiously watching the soufflés in the oven.And meanwhile, I staged the scene for taking the final picture because I knew I wouldn’t have a long time to take pictures. I also whipped some cream and found some raspberries in the freezer to serve with the soufflé.In all, I think my first attempt at making a soufflé turned out really well. They were nicely cooked and didn’t deflate for a good three minutes after I took them out of the oven. I would really like to try to make a cheese soufflé next time.
7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
8 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Confectioners’ sugar for garnish
- Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar. Put the prepared ramekins in the fridge.
- Set an oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 °F.
- Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Combine the egg yolks and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer or large bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture.
- Remove prepared ramekins from fridge. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, or large non-reactive bowl, add the lemon juice. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold stiff but not dry peaks.
- Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the soufflé mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)
- Immediately bake until the soufflé rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately with a dollop of peppermint whip cream