Friday, October 7, 2011

The flavors that do (Chocolate Souffle with Orange Whip)

The details are never laborious.
Do you ever have a project, and you just want to hurry through it to get to the end? I rarely feel like that when I am cooking. Each step of the process is rewarding. Each different technique that needs to be mastered is another small pleasure. I love flipping through cooking magazines, mentally savoring each recipe, imagining what the flavors in the dish would taste like. Or walking through a cooking store, covetously glancing from one cooking gadget to another, trying to justify my need for each item.
I think souffles are a particularly gratifying item to cook. I have yet to make a cheese souffle, all mine are sweet, but that velvety texture, like a perfect union of cake and custard, topped with some delectable sauce of dark chocolate, raspberry, or perhaps a simple whipped cream just make the perfect end to dinner.
I made this with a celebratory dinner that consisted of (you guessed it) steak and au gratin potatoes (I strongly believe the Irish meat-and-potatoes-dinner will never leave my husband). Whenever you announce you are making a souffle with dinner it just sounds special.
I have to say my children were quite happy with it also. About a week later my five-year-old wanders into the kitchen and announces he wants a chocolate souffle. My three-year-old didn't stop talking about if for several days, telling people we ran into about it. I have to say it brings a smile to my face.
This souffle is particularly inviting because it is made with bittersweet chocolate, so it is not cloyingly sweet, nor is it so bitter that you are longing for a bit of sweet. The lightly sweetened, orange-flavored whipped cream perfectly compliments the semi-sweet chocolate flavor, and the rich and creamy texture of the souffle. Let me just say this is much easier than it seems. People are intimidated by souffles. If you gently fold the egg whites in, just like the recipe indicates, and efficiently butter and sugar the ramekins, you will not have a problem with the souffle rising. These can be made ahead, and refrigerated until you are ready to bake them, but I find I can usually prepare them while I am waiting for something to finish, and pop them into the oven just as we are sitting down to dinner.

Bittersweet Chocolate Souffle with Orange Whipped Cream
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), finely chopped

Orange Whipped Cream

1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 Tablespoon orange juice
You will also need:
8 2/3- to 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups
Butter eight 2/3- to 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups; dust with sugar, completely coating to top edge or souffle will not rise as high as it should. Whisk 1/2 cup sugar, flour, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small saucepan. Pour 2/3 cup milk into measuring cup; whisk enough milk from cup into saucepan to form thick paste (2 to 3 tablespoons), then gradually whisk in remaining milk from cup. Stir over medium-low heat until bubbles begin to form around edges of pan. Continue cooking until slightly thickened, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Add cocoa powder, remaining 2 tablespoons milk, egg yolks, and vanilla; stir until smooth, thick paste forms.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, beating on high speed until firm peaks form. Add 1/4 of whites to chocolate mixture; fold to blend. Add remaining beaten egg whites and chopped chocolate and fold until whites are just blended into batter.
Divide batter among prepared ramekins; place on rimmed baking sheet.
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake soufflés until puffed above rim of ramekin and toothpick inserted into center comes out with thick batter attached, about 12 minutes (15 minutes for chilled soufflés).
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients for orange whipped cream in medium bowl until peaks form.
Using spoon, form small indentation in top of each soufflé; spoon dollop of Orange Whipped Cream into indentations. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. You're so right; saying you've made someone a souffle just spells love. And there's no better feeling than when they work out...


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