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Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Dozen Soufflés Later

I should have known I was in for trouble when I walked into pastry class and there was a giant cowbell sitting on the counter.  Instead, I was too absorbed in thoughts of soufflés to even notice the bell.

I’ve eaten and enjoyed both sweet and savory soufflés many times, but was a bit wary to try my hand at creating one…soufflés fuel many a rumor mill.  There are dozens of soufflé horror stories out there, usually starring a fallen soufflé and resulting in some baker having a mild mental breakdown.  I did not want to have a mental breakdown, no matter how mild.

Before letting us loose in the kitchen, Christa proclaimed that “A soufflé waits for no man,” which brings me back to the reason for the cowbell.  It was there to alert all of us when a soufflé came out of the oven, because we needed to taste it immediately. (Normally, we do one mass tasting at the end of the class).  After Christa’s exclamation, we were off and I started making a chocolate soufflé with a fresh berry sauce.

Just as I was getting into the soufflé groove, I head the cowbell's cry “BING-BING-BING,” the first soufflé was out of the oven and ready to taste. 

And, it was I took one bite and then two.  Then, I went back to work on my soufflé until a few minutes later “BING-BING-BING,” the next soufflé was ready for tasting.  Armed with a spoon in my pocket, I swooped in for a big gloppy spoonful of this Grand Marnier spiked souffle and sighed happily. I liked soufflés. 

Or at least I liked soufflés until I had “tried” the sixth or seventh of the evening.  At that point, I still had another seven soufflés left to taste and already despised the cowbell which had started to evoke a “run away from the soufflé” fear response.  I obviously had not paced myself well.

I must admit that I was a big sissy and hid in the back of the kitchen to avoid a couple of the last soufflé tastings…my teeth were starting to fall out (or at least that was my mental image).  In the end, I’m glad I was a soufflé ninny because I think I was one or two soufflés away from shunning the dessert for life.  Instead, I have recovered and accepted soufflés back into my life.  They are appealing (when eaten in moderation).  The are light and fluffy and saucy all at once…and they look quite impressive, too.  Cowbells on the other hand, I will hate forever.

Here's the chocolate souffle recipe pictured above (recipe courtesy of Tante Marie Cooking School):

Souffle au Chocolate

7 oz. semisweet chocolate

5 Tbsp water

1/3 cup flour

2 cups cold milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

4 egg yolks, blended with a fork

6 egg whites

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar

Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Prepare a 2 quart souffle dish by brushing the inside with butter and coating it with sugar.  Clean the rim.  Preheat oven to 400-degrees.  Center an oven rack.

In a bain marie (water bath), melt the chocolate with the water.  When melted, stir until smooth and keep warm.

In a medium saucepan, off the heat, make a paste by whisking the flour and a small amount of milk, then add the remaining milk.  Add the vanilla and bring to a boil, stirring vigorously until thick.  Cook for 1 more minute, then blend in chocolate and remove from heat.  Temper the egg yolks, then add to the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peak.  Slowly add sugar and beat until stiff peak.  Warm the chocolate base if necessary and stir in 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten, then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Spoon the souffle into prepared dish.  Use your thumb to clean the rim and "cut" into the souffle.  At this point, you may cover with an inverted bowl and leave at room temp for an hour before baking.  Bake in center of oven, turning it down to 375-degrees.  Should take about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and serve immediately.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i've never tried suffle before..I wouldnt even know what to expect. its sort of bread over pudding? kind of? next time you're practicing, let me know and I'll swing by! ;-) --jojo