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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Recipe: Chocolate Soufflé

Recipe: Chocolate Souffle


"Soufflés are a Chef's nightmare!"

This may be one of the most pervasive food myths to hit popular culture. But the idea that a Soufflé is so delicate and temperamental that you actually need to whisper in ones presence is absurd. The truth is, making a Soufflé is really no more difficult than making a batch of cookies

The bad reputation that Soufflés have earned throughout the food-service industry is more of a production issue. A baked Soufflé waits for no man. Once this easy-to-prepare dessert is done in the oven, it absolutely must go to the diner immediately. Otherwise, after just a few minutes, it will deflate. 

So where's the problem? Well, if John Doe orders dessert and then runs off to the bathroom, there's a good chance that he'll return to a sunken Soufflé. But the reality is (at least at quality restaurants), the deflated dessert gets thrown away before it's ever brought to the table, and another Soufflé is put in the oven. Hopefully this time the timing will be correct.

Trust me - waiters and cooks just love having to monitor your bathroom habits to get things right!

Read more about Soufflés in this earlier blog post

Chocolate Soufflé

And always giving credit where credit is due...

This recipe is part of the syllabus from the Professional Pastry Arts Program at The International Culinary CenterMany of the recipes from the Pastry Arts Program can be found in "The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts"

Chocolate Soufflé:

Yield: Four 90g Soufflés

  • Bittersweet Chocolate (70% or greater): 115g
  • Butter: 60g
  • Egg Yolks: 3x / 60g
  • Egg Whites: 3x / 90g
  • Cream of Tartar: 0.25 Tsp
  • Salt: Pinch
  • Sugar: 40g


1. Prepare the ramekins: Thoroughly coat the molds with Beurre en Pommade (i.e. butter that has been softened to the consistency of mayonnaise). Sprinkle the butter-brushed molds with sugar, shaking any excess sugar from the molds.    

Chef's Note: The French term for the coating on the ramekins is "Chemisier", which literally translates to "Blouse".  Excess sugar in the coating will result in a crunchy exterior to the Soufflé,  which may or may not be desirable. It's a matter of personal taste. 

2. Using a double boiler, melt the Butter and Chocolate, stirring until well combined.

3. While the melted Chocolate is still warm but not hot, stir in the Egg Yolks until well combined.

Chef's Note: If the Chocolate is too hot, there is a risk of cooking the Egg Yolks. However, the Soufflé base should be warm when it goes into the oven in order to get the best rise.

4. Make a French Meringue: Whip the Eggs Whites, Salt and Cream of Tartar on medium-low speed until they form an opaque foam. Increase the speed to medium and slowly stream in the Sugar. Continue whipping the Meringue to stiff peaks (for more information on making French Meringue, including numerous photographs, take a look at this previous blog post).

5. Combine the melted Chocolate base with the French Meringue: Begin by 'sacrificing' (i.e. stirring) a small amount of the French Meringue into the melted Chocolate to lighten the base. Then, fold the remaining Meringue into the melted Chocolate until it forms a homogeneous mix. 

Chef's Note: Do not overfold the mixture as this will deflate the Soufflé batter.

6. Fill the ramekins: Fill a piping bag with the Soufflé batter. Cut a large hole in the bag. Fill the ramekins all the way to the rim. Clean any excess batter from the rim of the ramekin using your finger.

Chef's Note: A piping bag is used for convenience - it makes for clean portioning. The large hole in the bag prevents the Souffle batter from being deflated. It is also possible to simply pour the batter into the ramekins.

7. Bake the Soufflés at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes. A well-baked Soufflé will be set on the edges but it will remain soft on the inside. Do not repeatedly check the Soufflés as they are baking as this will release much of the heat from the oven, and the Soufflés will collapse. Serve immediately. 

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