Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chocolate Soufflés

This soufflé recipe is from last year’s Bon Appétit article about the New York restaurant La Grenouille. I couldn’t find the recipe online, but it was published in the magazine as the recipe used by the restaurant (and Bon Appétit’s tips are here). You can serve these soufflés with a dusting of powdered sugar, a dollop of dairy-free whipped topping, or plain. The Engineer and I disagree on how we prefer to eat soufflés: I like mine straight from the oven and puffy as soufflés are meant to be, though I might blow on each bite to cool it a bit before I eat it; he, however, prefers his soufflés baked, fallen and chilled (like pudding or mousse). So my technique here was simple: fill all the ramekins and store them in the fridge, raw, until needed; then bake his in advance and put them back in the fridge, and bake mine just before eating it. You can also use this technique to make the soufflés for guests, that way all the prep is done and you’re ready to go with just the baking part before serving (warm the oven as the meal winds down). Whatever way you choose to eat them, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature (for the ramekins)
6 Tbsp. superfine sugar, divided, plus more for dusting (I put my regular sugar in the food processor)
1 cup lactose-free whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks (I used pasteurized eggs for this recipe; save the whites – see below)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
5 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp. natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
6 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Butter six 6-oz. ramekins and lightly dust with superfine sugar (mine are slightly smaller and I used eight). Chill.

Place milk in a small saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep, then discard bean from milk mixture.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat yolks and 3 Tbsp. superfine sugar in a medium bowl until slightly thickened and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Beat in flour and salt. Gradually beat in half of vanilla milk. Whisk egg mixture into remaining vanilla milk in saucepan; bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until soufflé base is thickened, 2-3 minutes. Transfer soufflé base to a large bowl.

Combine chocolate and cocoa powder in a small bowl; set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk chocolate mixture into soufflé base.

Using an electric mixer with clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a large, clean bowl until frothy, about 1 minute. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 Tbsp. superfine sugar by tablespoonfuls, beating to blend between additions. Continue beating meringue until semi-firm, glossy peaks form, 6-7 minutes. Gently stir ¼ of meringue into soufflé base to lighten; then gently fold in remaining meringue in two additions. Fill ramekins ¾ full.

Bake until centers are just set and soufflés are puffed, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately, topped with a dollop of lactose-free whipped cream.

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