Posted by: njbrown | September 3, 2009

Julia’s Ultimate Chocolate Soufflé

September 3, 2009

In looking through The Way to Cook, I found that after fifty years of cooking, Julia had developed what she felt to be the best chocolate soufflé, so I decided to drag out my thirty-year-old stand mixer, and see how it compared to what I remembered of the earlier version. (Many years ago, I had met a very dashing young man who drove a red Porsche, and he said if he met a girl who could make chocolate souffle, he’d marry her. I achieved a very inferior version, but when I announced my achievement, he let me know that a man could be committed to his career or his marriage, and his career was going to come first. My motivation to make chocolate soufflé diminished quickly, and it wasn’t for years that I tried again.)

The ultimate recipe calls for sweet baking chocolate. After making a meringue, Julia instructs you to ladle the chocolate mixture down the side of the bowl in which the meringue has been beaten before folding. Using my heavy-duty mixer, I was able to achieve beautiful, satiny egg whites that stayed in the bowl when inverted. Worrying about deflating the egg whites as I folded, I didn’t fully incorporate the chocolate mixture, so the folded mixture had a depression in the centre from the concentration of chocolate that had been poured into the souffle dish. Even so, the soufflé soared higher than any I’ve ever made, and held it’s pouf as long as could reasonably be expected. However, both George and I felt it was too sweet. The next time I do it, I’ll use semi-sweet chocolate (a variation sanctioned by Julia).

Julia really is a wonderful example of perseverance, and commitment to excellence. In another one of her books, she talked about trying to get her strawberry soufflé right twenty-eight times. This was a team effort, and she had Sarah Moulton on her team.

George keeps telling me how delicious the salmon soufflé was, so I’ll do it again this weekend, but with fresh salmon instead of canned. I’ve stopped worrying about my high cholesterol!



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