Assessment: Hot & Cold Desserts - Chocolate Soufflé

I had my Hot & Cold Desserts assessment this morning which included hot chocolate soufflé and a vanilla bavarois which I will post in the next entry.  There is no doubt that this classic french dessert makes an impressive centrepiece that is sure to garner ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ by a majority of diners especially when success in delivering a proud and tall souffle to the table before it deflates  is as critical as its construction. Soufflé comes from the word souffler which means “to blow up” so when heat is applied to a flavour base with volumised egg whites folded through it, it puffs up; however if the soufflé isn’t delivered to the table within 5 – 10 minutes, it implodes. I couldn’t help but chuckle at this explode- implode phenomena; I’ve got a warped image of exploding splatters of batter followed by the sinking  into what I might call the black hole of soufflé. Hehehe..ok, enough of my weirdness.

The texture of the soufflé should be really light, fluffy and some say almost like eating a cloud.  I’m a little hot and cold myself when it comes to the soufflé. I actually prefer soufflés made with a panada base (milk, flour, sugar)  with yolks added for richness and beaten meringue folded through. I’ve tried pure meringue based soufflés where a flavour base e.g. fruit puree is folded into the meringue mixture (beaten egg whites stabilised with sugar) resulting in a supremely light as a feather soufflé because it contains no fat (e.g. yolks) that has a tendency to collapse the very important egg white foam. Hence this type of soufflé traps more air, could expand more, are lighter to eat and some say have a longer standing time before it collapses although I haven’t tested this out.  As perfect as that sounds, the meringue based  soufflé doesn’t really rock my boat; I feel like I’m taking in a gulp of flavoured air. But that’s just me.

The soufflé may have minimal, simple ingredients but perfecting it is an art form and requires much practice and observation. So many variables affect its outcome; fresh cold egg whites, aged room temperature egg whites, oven heat, oven hot spots, strength of the flavour base, ingredients ratio etc. In my case, the chocolate soufflé I made at home for practice rose higher than the one I made this morning for my assessment where the texture was more moist. Perhaps it should be a notch lighter but at 22 minutes, it was just cooked which is exactly how I like it, meaning when I cut off the top of the soufflé, there is a 50 cent (4cm) sized gooey batter at the top centre like that of a chocolate fondant.

Goodie goodie, I have many ideas in store for future soufflé attempts. Can’t wait. 😀 

CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE RECIPE (quantities adapted from my class handout at William Angliss Institute)
makes 2 standard sized ramekins ( 150ml, 4cm high, 8 cm across)

PANADA

125 ml milk
  25 g caster sugar
  33 g plain flour
  40 g melted dark chocolate couveture (chips)
    2  egg yolks

MERINGUE

   2 egg whites
 38 g  caster sugar

TO PREPARE RAMEKINS
Softened butter
Extra sugar to coat

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190oC
  2. Brush the sides of 2 ramekins with softened butter(not melted); brush upwards (which is the direction the soufflé rises). Coat the ramekins with sugar and tap out any excess. Set aside. 
  3. Heat milk, sugar and flour in a pot; stir constantly into a thick and glossy paste ( this should take at least 2 minutes) 
  4. While still hot, add the chocolate chips to melt. 
  5. Transfer to a separate clean bowl; cool to below 50OC; then add egg yolks, combine thoroughly.
  6. Whisk egg whites; when foamy, gradually add the sugar; continue whisking to soft peak. 
  7. Fold ¼ of the egg white mixture into the base, clear the mixture, then gently fold the remaining egg white mixture in additions. 
  8. Carefully, fill up the ramekins, smooth the tops and clean the sides. 
  9. Run the tip of  a paring knife along where the mixture meets the ramekins. 
  10. Bake immediately for 19 – 20 minutes (SEE NOTE)
  11. Carefully remove ramekins from the oven, dust with icing sugar, place on serving plate and serve IMMEDIATELY.

Note:

  • If you’re planning on making this for the first time, double up the recipe and to check if the soufflé is cooked, sacrifice one by cutting off the top of one. The top centre should still be slightly gooey while the rest of the soufflé is cooked through. At home, this took exactly 19 minutes to bake whereas in class, I had to take it to 22 minutes, so the best way is still to check.
  • Constantly check your  soufflé, early during the baking, say when it has risen about 1cm, check to see if any of the batter is clinging to the edge/rim of the ramekins. If yes, don’t be afraid to open the oven door and with the tip of a small/ paring knife, gently lift that clinging bit; this encourages the  soufflé to lift off and rise straight.

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2 comments to Assessment: Hot & Cold Desserts – Chocolate Soufflé

  • Fitsum

    Hi,

    I have my hot and cold dessert class tomorrow and our assessment is next week. I have never made a souffle and was getting my prep work done before tomorrow’s class when i stumbled on your post…

    This post has been really helpful!

    Thanks

  • Mei Sze

    Hi Fitsum,

    Glad to be of help..have a fun class tomorrow! :)