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Jacques Torres's Chocolate Soufflé


"There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE."
Linda Grayson, "The Pickwick Papers"



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Chocolate Soufflé

Dessert Circus: Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make at Home
Dessert Circus:
Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make at Home

by Jacques Torres, 1998, William Morrow and Co.

One 8-inch soufflé; 6 to 8 servings

“Soufflés are a staple on the dessert menu at Le Cirque. I make them with a ganache base and a French meringue to give the soufflé the strength to hold until baked.
This way, I can prepare them in advance and bake them to order, which is very convenient. One day, Paul Bocuse walked past the soufflé station at Le Cirque and was amazed to see all of our soufflés sitting on the counter. He thought they were already baked and could not believe they had not deflated. Actually, you can pipe the mixture into the molds and let it sit for up to an hour before baking them. This defies everything you have ever been told about soufflés. In fact, you can have a party in your kitchen while these are baking. If you do, be sure to call me!”

For the soufflé base
1/3 cup (2.4 ounces; 70 grams) Half-and-Half
1.8 ounces (50 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1.4 ounces (40 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (1.8 ounces; 50 grams) unsweetened
Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Scant 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces; 100 grams) water

To finish the soufflé
8 large egg whites
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces; 100 grams) granulated sugar

For the garnish
Powdered sugar for dusting
Heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks (optional)
Crème Anglaise (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Soufflés are baked at a high temperature to ensure a good rise. Use a pastry brush to evenly coat the inside of a 1 1/2-quart soufflé mold with softened butter. Fill the mold with granulated sugar, then pour out the excess. If you have properly buttered the mold, the sugar will stick to the side and bottom of it. The butter and sugar keep the soufflé from sticking to the side of the mold and allow it to rise evenly. The sugar also gives the soufflé a crunchy crust, which I think makes a great contrast to its soft interior.
Prepare the soufflé base:
  Pour the half-and-half into a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and make a ganache by adding both types of chopped chocolate. Stir until well combined and all of the chocolate has melted.
Place a 1-quart saucepan half filled with water over high heat and bring to a boil. Make a double boiler by setting a large mixing bowl over the boiling water. Place the ganache in the mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder and water, and whisk until very hot. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To finish the soufflé:
  Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and make a French meringue by adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and whipping the whites to stiff but not dry peaks. Do not overwhip the egg whites, or they will not incorporate evenly into the ganache, and when baked, the soufflé will have chewy pieces of egg white in it. You can tell the egg whites are overwhipped if they start to separate and resemble scrambled eggs.
Use a rubber spatula to gently fold about half of the meringue into the warm chocolate mixture. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining meringue, being careful not to deflate the batter. The soufflé mixture should be homogenous in color, but if you can still see streaks of meringue in the batter, that’s okay.
Use a rubber spatula to gently place the soufflé mixture in the buttered and sugared mold. Fill to about 1 inch above the rim of the mold. Place the soufflé in the center of the oven and remove the top oven rack if necessary to allow enough room for it to rise. If the soufflé is too close to the top of the oven or under a rack, it will stick when it rises. If the soufflé is too close to the bottom of the oven, the bottom of the soufflé will burn before the inside is properly baked. Bake until the soufflé has risen to about one and a half times its original height and starts to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and dust the top with powdered sugar. Serve immediately with a side of whipped cream or crème anglaise, if desired.

This soufflé can also be baked in individual buttered and sugared molds. Use a pastry bag with a large opening (no tip) to pipe the soufflé mixture into the molds to come about 1 inch above the rim. Bake until risen and lightly browned on top,
6 to 8 minutes.

 Featured Archive Recipes:
Another version of the Chocolate Soufflé (Alice Medrich)
Dark Chocolate Terrine with Two Chocolate Sauces

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