Posted by: njbrown | October 5, 2009

Tiny almost perfect chocolate souffles

September 21, 2009

Today was my day off, so I decided to try to recreate the poached pears from my first cooking classes, and to have a second try at individual chocolate souffles – a recipe I found on the Web from Gourmet magazine.  The first problem I encountered was using my new apple corer.  While it made a lovely cut, since I wanted to maintain the top of the pear, I had trouble extracting the core.  Using a narrow knife finally did the job, but it was less than surgically premise.  The pears floated in the poaching liquid – something I didn’t remember, and the cranberry, nut, brown sugar stuffing partially came out.  Once the pears had cooled, I replaced the lost stuffing and refrigerated them.  Overall, a B/B+ result.  Trying to replicate something after more than 35 years is a challenge.

Last week I found the recipe for individual chocolate souffles, and these appealed to me because the recipe was exceedingly simple, and the baking time only ten to twelve minutes.  However, there was no base other than melted chocolate into which you were to put egg yolks and one tablespoon of rum.  The minute the yolks were added, the beautiful, silky chocolate became cement-like, and while I managed to incorporate the egg whites, the resulting souffles were heavy and “molten” in the center.  Not really a souffle for me.  I decided I must have done something wrong, so today was the day to try again.  Same result.  I went to the Food Network Web site where I’d found the recipe and saw fourteen comments – all but one saying this was a great recipe.  My self-doubt increased.  But then I went to Julia and in her section in The Way to Cook on melting chocolate, she said that you need to have at least one tablespoon of liquid for every ounce of chocolate – otherwise it gets stiff.  I had found the answer!  To make just enough for George and me, I cut the recipe in half – 2.5 oz. of chocolate, 1 egg yolk and 2 egg whites, but 1 T. of rum and 1.5 T. strong coffee.  I added the liquid before melting the chocolate, and when I added the egg yolk, I had a beautiful, light mixture.  The egg whites went in like a dream, and I had enough for two 3/4 c. ramekins.  The souffles puffed well (even without collars), and after 10 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees then reduced to 375 degrees as soon as the souffles were put in the oven, they had a true souffle texture.  I feel triumphant, but it wasn’t I, it was Julia.  God bless her!



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