Last week I had a great mid-week visit from my good friend Becca. It was a gloomy day on the outside, but on the inside we were all red wine and giggles! Becca is taking a pastry course on her weekends and she means some serious business when it comes to the kitchen. While she was visiting she taught me something that has been on my “bucket list” for several years, (pause for the drum roll) it was the art of making a souffle’! I must say that it wasn’t overly complicated. The tricky part was just that it required focused energy and hard-core whisking.
(Becca recommends using a scale for dry ingredients when baking. She brought me this one to keep and it’s the Biggest Loser scale!)
7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the ramekins
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) Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar.
Set an oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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 a stiff but not dry peak.
5) Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in the remaining whites until blended. Gently spoon the souffle mixture into ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. Make sure to level the surface with a straight edge like the back of a knife so they raise nice and even.
6) Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately with whipped cream or the Creme Anglaise that we made above. You can find a recipe for Creme Anglaise here.
Garnish with a bit of fresh fruit. We used mango, but berries would be pretty too. Call over the neighbors and sink another bottle of wine while digging in! Yum! Not bad for just a regular Tuesday night!