Thursday, August 20, 2009

Soufflé au chocolat noir

The soufflé au chocolat noir experiment was successfully conducted, and I am happy to share that the result was great! After overcoming the intimidation of its secrecy and the respect I've always felt for this desert, I fully agree with the cooking engineer that "the difficulty in preparing a soufflé has been somewhat exaggerated over time". I think that the French have conspired to make it look so difficult to prepare, so that they (and the big chefs around the world) have the monopoly over it:). But believe me - it is as easy as pie! It's even easier than making an ordinary tea cake (which I never can get quite right). It's also times easier to cook than a good creme caramel, which is another desert I've cooked several times.

I followed step by step the cooking engineer's recipe, and it is foolproof. I only skipped the cream of tartar because it is not available on the Bulgarian market. The whites got firm without it though, so if you don't have it at hand, do not worry about it (just add a pinch of salt instead). I also beat everything with a whisk, so a mixer is not a must. Well, you have to be aware though, that your hand will hurt a bit after beating the whites for 5-7 minutes (and you can't stop in the middle to rest). The other alteration I made was the chocolate - I used 80% cocoa instead of 70% (that's the one I found in the supermarket). It made the chocolate mixture a bit dry and to compensate the missing fat I added just a bit more butter and a bit more cream. And finally - the recipe says that this amount will serve two, but I found out that it was enough for 3 or even 4 if you don't fill the cups to the top. The first two I baked immediately for 15 min. They rose beautifully, and tasted great, but for me were a bit overcooked. The other two I refrigerated, to check if the taste changes if you bake them on the next day - and surprise, surprise - it was as good! These two I baked for 10 min and they were just perfect:) I attach pictures of the first and the second trial.
The two weak points where the cooking can go wrong are the beating of the whites and their folding (I love this term!) into the chocolate mixture. If you get those right, there is nothing else to worry about. And of course never open the oven during the ten minutes the little buddies are inside.
Mom and I enjoyed them with a scope of vanilla and lemon ice-cream this afternoon and I still have their lovely taste in my mouth.
Here again is the link to the recipe I used:
Now that I've conquered the souffle with the assistance of an American engineer, I decided to take a look at what the French actually have to say about it. They had to say a lot!... The variety of recipes was overwhelming but didn't find a single one with so specific and easy to follow instructions. I'll go back to them when I master the basic one. I want to share however a video of a French chéf showing "la meilleure recette du soufflé au chocolat" (the best recipe for a chocolate sufflé). Well - he is unique and so Frrrrench... enjoy:

Next time you visit me, be sure that you'll be treated to a real French soufflé.

Day 2

Day 1

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