by Stephanie Zonis
Yes, you can make a soufflé! This is a particularly uncomplicated version of that French dessert, though it is helpful to follow certain guidelines. Separate the eggs when they're just out of the fridge (eggs separate most easily when cold), but allow both yolks and whites to reach room temperature before they're beaten to achieve greatest volume. Make sure that the bowl and beater(s) you use for beating the whites are completely clean and grease-free (that includes having no speck of yolk in the whites). And don't overbeat your egg whites; beat them to soft, not stiff, peaks.
You'll need a 1-1/2 quart soufflé dish to make this. Mine, which is white porcelain, measures 8 inches in diameter by 3-1/2 inches tall. You can make the sauce up to several days ahead, then reheat it while the soufflé bakes. One important note: like Time itself, a soufflé waits for no one, so be certain everyone is at the table when yours is about to come out of the oven.
9 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce good-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
Few grains salt
3/4 cup warm water
Optional When Reheating: 2 Tbsp. orange liqueur
5 eggs, graded "large", separated
2 Tbsp. plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
Grated zest 1 medium orange
2 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate,
thawed and at room temperature
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
About 1-1/2 cups
In medium heatproof bowl, combine finely chopped chocolates and salt. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. All at once, add warm water; gently whisk in until smooth. Cool briefly, then chill until needed, covering tightly when cold.
Separate the eggs when you take them out of the refrigerator. Place the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in the small bowl of an electric stand mixer (or place the whites in a medium bowl if you have two sets of beaters for a hand-held electric mixer). Cover bowls lightly; allow yolks and whites to stand at room temperature for an hour or so, until no longer cold. (As the frozen orange juice concentrate must be thawed and at room temperature, too, I measure it out now and leave it in a small cup, covered and at room temperature, while the yolks and whites are warming up).
About 15 minutes before you want to bake the soufflé, adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 1-1/2 quart ovenproof soufflé dish generously. Place a few spoonfuls of sugar (in addition to that called for in the recipe) into the buttered dish, and turn and twist it so that the entire inside is sugared as well as buttered. Dump out any extra sugar.
Beat the egg yolks with a hand-held electric mixer at medium-high speed for 5 full minutes, gradually adding the 2 Tbsp. sugar (reserve remainder) as you do so. The yolks will become very pale and fluffy and will increase in volume and thicken. At the end of the beating time, the yolk mixture will fall from the beaters in a thick ribbon. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the orange zest and the thawed orange juice concentrate, mixing only until blended. This addition will thin the yolk mixture slightly.
If you have a second set of beaters for your hand-held mixer, use them now. Otherwise, attach a whisk beater (if available) to your electric stand mixer. Sprinkle the cream of tartar into the egg whites. Start beating them on low speed, then gradually increase speed to high. When they are somewhat increased in volume, white, and very foamy, begin adding the reserved 1/3 cup sugar, about one-fourth at a time. Continue beating this mixture to soft peak stage (do not overbeat).
Add a large spoonful of the beaten whites to the yolk mixture; fold it in just until combined. Turn this mixture back into the remaining whites. Fold together quickly but gently and thoroughly, just until no white streaks show.
Turn mixture into prepared soufflé dish and spread level. Quickly place in preheated oven. Bake 21 to 24 minutes. Soufflé will rise above edge of dish and may brown somewhat on top. Lesser baking time will yield a somewhat more "saucy" interior, which is the way I like it; a longer baking time will result in the soufflé being more set in the center. While soufflé bakes, reheat sauce. Scrape sauce into medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over simmering water on low heat. Stir often, just until quite warm; remove from heat and hot water. (Alternatively, scrape sauce into microwaveable container. Heat in microwave at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring well after each, just until very warm.) If desired, add the liqueur to the sauce now and stir in. Pour sauce into small pitcher or sauceboat; keep warm until serving time.
Remove soufflé from oven and carry to table. Using a large spoon, immediately scoop out about one-sixth of the soufflé onto a flat dessert plate. Continue portioning out and serving the soufflé pass sauce for everyone to pour over his or her portion as desired.
Copyright © 2001 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created February 2001
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