by Stephanie Zonis
Hey, don't run away just because this is a souffle! True, they are a tad touchier than some other desserts, and they require some extra care. But they are great fun to make, especially since people don't expect them, and this one tastes wonderful. This is not a "typical" souffle in that it doesn't begin with a roux (a cooked butter-and-flour) base, but I find it more chocolatey than souffles made with a roux. You could serve this with a creme anglaise or chocolate sauce, but my accompaniment of choice is lightly sweetened whipped cream.
To help ensure the success of your souffle, make certain there's nary a speck of egg yolk in your whites, and beat the whites in a large, clean, absolutely grease-free, non-plastic bowl. The whites and sugar should be beaten to soft-peak stage only; do not overbeat them. And make certain the chocolate-yolk mixture is cooled to room temperature before you fold in the beaten whites; if it is at all warm, it will deflate the whites. Hot souffles such as this one must be served immediately, as the air goes out of them very quickly once they're removed from the oven. Because this is made with bittersweet chocolate, it would probably be more appreciated by adults than by children.
4 eggs, graded "large", plus 3 egg whites
(from eggs graded "large")
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
2 Tbsp. warm water
5 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pats
1/4 cup orange juice, strained so it's free of pulp
(preferably fresh-squeezed), warmed slightly
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Fresh raspberries, if desired
Separate the eggs first, when they are just out of the refrigerator. Place the 4 yolks in a large bowl; place the 7 whites in a separate, perfectly-clean, non-plastic large bowl (or the large bowl of an electric mixer). Lightly cover the bowl of egg whites; if possible, place in a spot slightly warmer than room temperature. The whites should be at room temperature or slightly above it when beaten, as they'll yield a much greater volume that way.
In a small cup, dissolve espresso powder in warm water; set aside. In small heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate, butter, and salt. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir frequently until almost melted. Remove from heat and hot water; stir until melted and smooth. Stir in dissolved espresso. Cool until slightly warm.
Whisk yolks lightly just to mix. Whisk in slightly warm chocolate mixture, then gradually whisk in warmed orange juice (if the orange juice is cold when added, it may cause the chocolate to harden too much). Set aside to cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally. Mixture will thicken as it cools.
Meanwhile, adjust rack to center of oven. Butter a 1-1/2 quart souffle dish (mine is white porcelain; use a light-colored dish for this dark souffle). Sugar the dish by placing a couple of tablespoons of sugar inside it (this sugar is in addition to that called for in the recipe), then tilting the dish until all the buttered surfaces are covered with sugar. Pour out any extra sugar. Set prepared dish aside. Have ready the cream of tartar and the 3/4 cup granulated sugar.
When the chocolate-yolk mixture has cooled to room temperature and the egg whites are at least at room temperature, you're ready to proceed. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk the chocolate-yolk mixture well to loosen it.
Add cream of tartar to egg whites. with whisk beater of stand electric mixer or sturdy hand-held electric mixer, begin to beat the whites at low speed. Gradually increase speed to high. when whites are very foamy and increased in volume, begin adding sugar, about one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until all sugar is added and meringue stands in soft peaks. Do not overbeat.
Add a large spoonful of meringue to the cooled chocolate-yolk mixture and whisk it in thoroughly to lighten. Working quickly, add the remaining meringue in three additions. Use a large rubber spatula to fold in each addition and scrape the bowl bottom and sides. Don't fold in the first two additions too thoroughly, and fold in the last addition just until no white streaks show. Quickly turn the souffle into the prepared dish (the dish will be filled to within an inch or so of the top). Spread the souffle level and place it in the preheated oven. Close oven door; IMMEDIATELY REDUCE TEMPERATURE TO 350 DEGREES F.
Bake the souffle 40 to 42 minutes. When it is done, it will have risen a bit above the edges of the dish, and the center will barely quiver (if at all) when the dish is lightly tapped. When baked for the lesser amount of time, the very center of the souffle will remain slightly "saucy". Remove from oven.
Serve IMMEDIATELY, using a large spoon to portion out the souffle. Accompany as desired.
Copyright © 2000 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created January 2000
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