“What would you do if you were not afraid ?”
― Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese
Umm...bake a soufflé. Or perhaps fly! Well, we have just come back from our short holiday to Edinburgh and I must say I wasn't as petrified of flying as I have been before. I have detailed the harrowing flying experience as a child in a previous post but then again if you are surrounded by a snoring passenger, a screaming child in the back seat, a customer complaining about the quality of the breakfast, then I guess you are too distracted to fear for your own life. Or perhaps I was too lost in my book-The Rosie Project.
Both fears I must admit are completely irrational as I am more likely to die driving my car or fail at baking a simple muffin. Don't even get me started on my muffin tops-no pun intended. Some how I am still struggling to get that perfectly risen cracked slightly crusty and browned muffin appearance. More on that another time.
First time I made soufflé, it was a complete disaster. I fell for this amazing photograph in a magazine-we feast with over eyes they say-and had to give it a go. The end result was an almost empty ramekin with sticky roux at the bottom. I was scared to ever try it again. This was some 10 years ago. Then I didn't know anything about baking or the science of baking and the fact that it is fraught with possibilities of disasters-even when you might have tried the same recipe many times before. You live, you learn.
I haven't attempted them again here because I was suddenly feeling brave, but because I wanted to make something with chocolate-it being Easter and all. Being away on a holiday meant I had an empty fridge and cupboards. So this is the only recipe which called for 2 eggs, a little amount of ground almonds, coffee and dark chocolate-which is always in good stock in this house.
This French word is simply translated into 'puffed up'. Focusing mainly on the hot souffle-the main base is a roux made with eggs,butter and flour or a cremé patisserie to which stiff egg whites are added to provide the lift (which comes from the expansion of trapped air) and the melt in the mouth texture.
This is unarguably the French invention of the late 18th century. The two main important points mentioned across many sites and articles are: coating the ramekins really well, so that the batter doesn't stick and avoiding to have a sneak peak at the soufflés by opening the oven door.
Hot choc soufflés (serves 2)
This recipe is adapted from the Good Food magazine. The other reason I opted for this recipe was the fact that it was labelled as fail proof. This recipe is slightly different in the sense that you don't need to make a cremé patisserie as the base. I found it really easy and simple as a novice. This again is from some 10 years ago when I used to rip the pages from the magazine and neatly stack it in a ring folder with plastic pockets and all!
Butter (unsalted) soft: 1 tsp
Ground almonds: 1 tbsp
Dark chocolate 70%: 75gm
Black strong coffee: 2 tbsp
Plain flour: 1 tsp
Caster sugar: 50gm (divided into 25gm each)
Eggs (medium) , separated: 2
- Pre-heat the oven to 190C (fan assisted 170C).
- Spread butter generously on two ramekins and coat the sides and base with ground almonds.
- Melt the chocolate (I do this in the microwave on medium at 20 second bursts) and stir in the coffee and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
- Add flour, 25gm sugar and egg yolk into the chocolate mixture.
- Whisk the egg whites till they form soft peaks.
- Add the remaining 25gm sugar and whisk till stiff peaks form and the mixture appears glossy.
- Add the meringue to the chocolate mixture in 4 batches with a metal spoon folding gently to maintain as much as possible.
- Fill the ramekins with the mixture.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. To test they are done, touch the top and the crust should feel firm and not wobble.
Tips and tricks:
Helpful video on how to make a soufflé.
I didn't know about top-hating a soufflé and would be trying it next time.
I struggled to take a decent photo as it started to collapse as soon as it came out of the oven and hence the image of the soufflé with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream has been omitted from this post. The texture was light though the flavours were rich with coffee and dark chocolate. This is a close contender for my all time favourite melt in the middle chocolate pudding. I think I will have to make it again, to know for sure.