Souffle of Choice

>> Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Before we move on to our next dessert adventure, I wanted to post some notes about how we chose the "perfect" chocolate souffle!  We compared several chocolate souffle recipes and selected this one because it served several people, and had very clear, detailed instructions.  For the chocolate, we skipped some messy chopping and used bittersweet chocolate chips.  In addition, we read that a copper bowl is ideal for beating egg whites perfectly.  Since neither of us has a copper bowl, we were very careful to separate the egg yolks from the whites, leaving no trace of shells or yolk in the egg whites.  (To our chagrin, a copper bowl is quite a bit pricier than the stainless steel version.)  While the recipe makes six souffles, we ended up having to butter up some extra ramekins at the last minute - perhaps due to extreme luck in beating the egg whites?  Here is the recipe adapted from the Food Network, with some notes:

Chocolate Souffle Recipe


  • 7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 8 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Confectioners' sugar for garnish

  1. Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar. Put the prepared ramekins in the freezer.
    We used the fridge, since the freezer was full!
  2. Preheat to 400 degrees F.
  3. Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.
    Note: This is similar to using a double boiler to melt the chocolate and the butter.  Once the chocolate is smooth, take the bowl off the heat and stir in the vanilla. 
  4. Combine the egg yolks and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer or large bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture.
    Note: In the ribbon stage, the egg yolks turned a pale yellow.
  5. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, or large non-reactive bowl, add the lemon juice. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold a stiff but not dry peak.
    Note: If you don't have a rubber spatula, I definitely recommend using one to clean the sides of the bowl when beating!
  6. Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the souffle mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)
  7. Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.


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