Chocolate Soufflé

Chocolate Soufflé

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When served with the sauce included in the recipe, these chocolate soufflés induce hallucinations and ecstasy. This is a very exciting recipe from the book of Jacques Pépin named Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. The experience was PERFECT! I used Scharffen Berger (pronunciation) bittersweet chocolate. This chocolate is good. I believe that I was able to taste cocoa butter, the fat of chocolate. The flavor was soft, not strong, and sweet. I used tangerine zest because I did not have orange zest. The great flavor of the sauce surprised me so much that I started to dance around because I was excited. These ramekins are from France. I got them at Williams-Sonoma. They have small porcelain soufflé dishes from France, but the explanation for the product includes using them to make custard. The explanation for these ramekins includes making soufflés. They were considerably less expensive than the small soufflé dishes. They performed better than I expected. I am happy to have them because my soufflés baked perfectly. The soufflés I baked in different ramekins did not bake perfectly. Since I have some gruyere, I believe I should make cheese soufflés soon.

Here are some things that I had to learn from experience, by reading books, and by using the internet:

  • Butter the ramekins or soufflé dish with upward strokes to assist the soufflé to rise
  • Relax the base of the soufflé by gently beating stiffened egg whites in the base of the soufflé to make the texture of the base of the soufflé and the egg whites more similar to reduce the amount of work required to fold the egg whites in the base of the soufflé (Wright, Treuille: 274)
  • Clean the edges of the ramekins or soufflé dish with your thumb because the coating may interfere with the ability of the soufflé to rise
  • Preheat a baking sheet on the lowest rack in the oven
  • Cooking a soufflé with more heat on the bottom than the top may cause the soufflé to rise better since water will evaporate from the bottom of the soufflé dish, evaporating water creates an upward force
    • Things to know about the oven to justify this observation
      • Ideally, the temperature in a convection oven is the same at every place in the oven
      • The fan used in a convection oven may interfere with the ability of a soufflé to rise
      • In a traditional oven, since heat rises, the oven is probably hotter at the top of the oven; the top of the oven is best for browning food (on top)
      • In a traditional oven, since the heating element is usually on the bottom, place foods that should be browned on the bottom on the lowest rack; to have a crispy crust on a pizza without using a stone, someone might desire to use the bottom rack
      • Cooking a soufflé with more heat on the bottom than the top may cause the soufflé to rise better since water will evaporate from the bottom of the soufflé dish, evaporating water creates an upward force

Download The Recipe:

Chocolate Soufflés

1. Jacques Pépin: Heart & Soul in the Kitchen (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2015), 412.

2. Jeni Wright, Eric Treuille: Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques (New York: William Morrow And Company, Inc., 1996), 274.

3. “Is Oven Rack Position Important?,” The Reluctant Gourmet, accessed March 27, 2017, http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/oven-rack-position/.

4. “Convection vs. conventional ovens explained.” YouTube video, 2:05. Posted by “CNET,” May 6, 2015. https://youtu.be/bSwrilHFprg.

5. “Whirlpool® TimeSavor™ Plus True Convection Cooking.” YouTube video, 0:32. Posted by “WP Canada,” Dec 8, 2014. https://youtu.be/5rJyIUrOEJI.

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