French or French inspired cooking was always part of my childhood whether I was aware of it or not. I remember back in the 90s when my Louisiana-born Cajun Grandmother would binge watch cooking shows on television and I would occasionally join her. Julia Child was one of those well-known cooks that stood out in my mind.
I was always intrigued by French cooking — probably because it’s complexity and precision contrasted more simplistic Filipino foods I had grown up learning to make. One recipe that always stood out to me was the famous Soufflé. This notoriously difficult and temperamental dish presents a challenge to any rookie or expert alike — but it was a challenge I was up for. But what kind of Soufflé did I want to make and is it really going to be all that challenging?
Recently, my boyfriend purchased Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking on Amazon. I saw the recipe for Chocolate Soufflé and instantly gravitated to that. So here I was prepared to make a notoriously complicated dessert that I have never even attempted before — did I mention that I’ve never even eaten a soufflé in my entire life either? Yes, I’m that crazy that I was willing to attempt something I’ve never eaten before. Here’s what you will need:
- 7 ounces of sweet/semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 strong liquid coffee
- 4 egg yolks
- 6 egg whites
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 small ramekin dishes
- Pre-heat oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use the softened butter to butter each of the ramekins. Make sure every inch of the inside of the ramekin is buttered. This will help the soufflé to rise.
- Heat a saucepan filled with water and place a metal bowl on top. Place the coffee and chocolate until melted then add the flour and butter to the mix and whisk until it reaches a paste-like consistency. Add the milk and whisk until thick. Set aside to cool.
- Add the egg yolks to the warm chocolate sauce mix one-by-one and mix as you add each one. Then add the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar vigorously until a soft peak is formed. Then add the sugar and continue whisking until peaks become stiff.
- Add the chocolate mixture and egg white mixture together. Fold together using a spatula.
- Add the final mixture to the ramekin dishes. Fill the dishes all the way to the top leaving just a little bit of space below the rim.
- Place the ramekin dishes on a metal sheet and put in the lower part of the oven. Lower temperature to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake for 40 minutes. The soufflé should have risen substantially. Using a toothpick, poke the center of one and it should come out clean.
- Dust with powdered sugar. Serve Immediately.
From the crisp and firm dusted outer layer to the rich, creamy, chocolate underneath, this “dreaded” Soufflé turned out not to be as complicated as I thought. Honestly, it was just a lot of chemistry and precision involved but hey, what is baking that isn’t precise? This was definitely a dessert worth making, especially if you are a chocolate lover like myself and want to indulge in something decadent after a savory meal. I’m sure Julia would be proud.
What are some of your favorite French desserts? Do you think it’s as complicated as people say it is? Bon Appetit!