Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Intensely Bittersweet Chocolate Souffles

Intensely Bittersweet Chocolate Souffles - made August 20, 2011 from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich (book #151)

Didn't bake these long enough so texture was too soft
My sister, the lava cake fan
Whenever my sister visits and I ask her what she wants me to make for dessert, her answer is invariably "lava cake!", regardless of season, climate or occasion.  Which works for me because it lets me try out another new recipe.  I've blogged before that I haven't quite found the best lava cake recipe yet but that doesn't keep me from trying so her request gives me an excuse to keep looking for the right recipe.  Technically this is a souffle rather than a lava cake but it's chocolate, it can be served warm with ice cream and I can make it have a molten center by underbaking it.  I skipped the whipped cream topping and topped it with vanilla ice cream instead.

I can't say I was wild about this recipe but I think that's partly my fault.  I didn't have enough dark bittersweet chocolate on hand so I substituted with more of a milk chocolate.  Which subsequently didn't make the souffle with a deep dark chocolate taste which is what I would prefer in a souffle or lava cake, especially when consumed with vanilla ice cream.  I also didn't bake the first batch long enough so it was a bit more egg-white-y in texture than I would've liked so I had to make sure the second batch baked for a longer period of time.

I'm also not that wild about souffles in general - they're too light in texture to go well with a creamy-firm ice cream and you end up crushing the fluffy texture of the souffle just to spoon it up with the ice cream.  That's usually why souffles are served with whipped cream since they're more compatible, texture-wise, with an airy-textured souffle. Not to mention logistically, it's best to let a lava cake cool slightly before topping with ice cream so the ice cream doesn't melt into the cake so quickly but if you wait too long for a souffle to cool, it'll deflate and not look very impressive.  This was good for a souffle but I still prefer the more dense texture of a lava cake. So the search is back on for a good recipe for one.....for the next time my sister visits, haha.

Baked longer for better texture

About 2 tablespoons sugar for the ramekins soufflés
8 ounces bittersweet 70% chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar

For the topping
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar

Eight 6-ounce ramekins

1.     If you are baking the soufflés right away, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375˚F.  Butter the ramekins and sprinkle with sugar.
2.    Place the chocolate, butter and milk in a large heatproof bowl in a large skillet of barely simmering water.  Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Remove the bowl from the water bath and whisk in the egg yolks.  Set aside.
3.    In a medium, dry bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted.  Gradually sprinkle in the 1/3 cup sugar and beat at high speed until the whites are stiff but not dry.  Fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites.
4.    Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins, filling each three-quarters full.  The soufflés can be prepared to this point, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days.  Bake directly from the refrigerator.
5.    Place the soufflés on a cookie sheet.  Bake until they rise and crack on top and a wooden skewer plunged into the center emerges very moist and gooey (but the centers should not be completely liquid), 14 to 16 minutes, perhaps a minute or so longer if the soufflés have been refrigerated.
6.    Meanwhile, make the topping: Beat the cream with the vanilla and sugar until it holds a soft shape (or stiffer, if you like it that way).  Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
7.    When they are done, remove the soufflés from the oven, and serve immediately, with a little powdered sugar sifted over the top, if you’d like.  Pass the whipped topping separately.


1 comment:

  1. I've never made souffles or lava cakes but I do enjoy eating them. These looks delicious, so rich and creamy. Perfect for a special occasion or visit from your sister. I don't blame her for requesting them. Thanks for sharing on Sweet Indulgences Sunday.