A few night ago, I was flipping through some of my pastry books and I decided to pick up “Chocolate Obsession” by Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage. I have had this book for years but I don’t remember ever baking any recipes from it.
I have to admit I have a cookbook addiction, but after I get them, I tend to leave them on the shelf and never really bake from them. I do enjoy photographs and they do bring much inspiration, but I don’t usually copy a recipe from a book. However, this time, I was drawn to a chocolate souffle photo. It was beautiful, full of texture, dark, rich. I said, “I have to try this”.
I flipped to the recipe page and started reading through it to see what method the authors used. I am very particular about souffle and its consistency. I despise meringue based souffles and most chocolate souffle recipes I see are meringue based. I feel cheated with these… I want a souffle that has a thick, creamy interior and that is why I like my roux or pastry cream base recipes.
I went back to the chocolate souffle photo and saw that this souffle had an incredible texture inside. I had to give it a shot. Marvellous, indeed. The amount of chocolate in the recipe makes it almost like a molten cake but without egg yolks. Of course, no need to say that you must use the best available chocolate because that is what makes this souffle. If the chocolate is poor, then the souffle will be poor.
Just a little note about the book though. The recipe in the book fails to mention one of the steps. It lists the grated chocolate in the ingredient list, but then, it does not mention when or how this chocolate is supposed to be added. No big deal. It was pretty easy to figure out, but I did find that error. I haven’t tried any other recipes from it, but I think it is well worth it just for the photography and the food styling.
130 grams cocoa powder
350 ml water
1 vanilla bean, split
40 grams 70% chocolate, grated
70 grams egg whites
pinch of salt
75 grams sugar
10 grams sugar
20 grams 70% chocolate, grated
Brush softened butter over all sides of the ramekins you are going to use. Make sure you brush applying vertical strokes. This will allow the souffle to rise straight up nicely. Mix the grated chocolate and sugar and pour into one ramekin. Turn so all sides are coated with this mixture and dump the excess into the next ramekin. Once they are all coated, refrigerate them until ready to use.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and the vanilla to a boil. Turn heat off and let it steep for 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve it for another use. Return the pan to the heat and bring to another boil. Add half of the cocoa powder into the boiling water and whisk constantly until all the cocoa has been absorbed. Add the rest and whisk constantly for about 3 minutes or until it thickens. Remove from heat and transfer the cocoa paste into a large bowl.
In the meantime, whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt. When they are almost fully whipped, add the sugar slowly, in batches. Let the meringue whip to semi stiff peaks.
Add the meringue into the warm cocoa paste and fold gently until no more white streaks are showing. Fold in the grated chocolate.
Spoon the souffle batter into the ramekins. Fill to the top. Bake in a preheated 350F degree oven until they rise. The time will depend on the size of your ramekins. Serve immediately.