WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I promise you a terrific recipe for chocolate soufflé that will definitely impress your spouse, significant other, or someone you would like to become one of the above. However, first I have a love story, in the twisted prose of The Inspired Chef, to pass on to you.
Are any of you out there in love with one of your kitchen appliances? Well, the Inspired Chef definitely is, and the object of my affection is my KitchenAid 4 1/2-quart Stand Mixer. In fact, I still remember the day I brought my mixer home from Bloomingdale’s as if it were yesterday.
I eagerly tore open the box to reveal my kitchen Adonis. It was about one foot tall and weighed 15 pounds, with a shiny white base and a gleaming silver stainless steel bowl and beaters. I stood there for a while daydreaming about the wonderful times my mixer and I would have together in the future before reality snapped back in.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner I needed to come up pronto with a romantic dessert to prepare for my husband, Bob.
After much research, I decided to make a chocolate soufflé from Epicurious.com, which was relatively quick (20 minutes prep time) and easy to make. In addition, I had every one of the ingredients in my cupboards — unsalted butter, extra-bittersweet chocolate, milk, cornstarch, eggs, and sugar.
On the big day, I started by rubbing butter onto the bottom and sides of six 6-ounce soufflé ramekins and then sprinkling a little bit of sugar inside the delicate, small white bowls. Then I melted the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat until it was smooth. The next step was combining the milk and cornstarch and bringing them to a boil in another pan.
When I mixed these two thick concoctions together I got a brown, pudding-like mixture that smelled so sweet and heavenly that I just had to dip my finger in and give it a little taste. And yes, it was mighty good!
The next step involved separating the eggs. I added three egg yolks to the chocolate mixture and then dropped six egg whites into the bowl of the mixer. After beating the egg whites into a foam, I slowly added the sugar. For the next three minutes my KitchenAid mixer took over and whipped its contents into shiny and stiff white peaks while I did absolutely nothing except to stand back and watch with loving admiration. (Of course, you can also use a hand beater; you’ll just have to do some work!)
After gently stirring the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, I spooned the finished concoction into the ramekins, filling each one to the rim, and then put them in the oven. “Would they rise like they were supposed to?” I wondered. I didn’t put on the oven light because I was afraid to watch. In fact, the soufflés did rise perfectly, towering about an inch over the tops of the ramekins.
The soufflés turned out light and fluffy on the outside and delightfully moist in the middle, just the way I had hoped they would be. Sated from the dessert, I returned to the kitchen to clean and polish the bowl and beater of my mixer and give it one last loving look.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Eric Bedoucha & Chef Thomas Jones
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
10 1/2 ounces (10 squares) extra-bittersweet chocolate
1 1/3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large egg yolks, room temperature, lightly beaten
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar; more for soufflé ramekins
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter and sugar six 6-ounce soufflé ramekins. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; set aside.
2. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate until smooth. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
3. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan combine milk and cornstarch. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously until thick.
4. Remove milk mixture from the heat and stir in warm melted chocolate. Let cool slightly. Add lightly beaten egg yolks and stir until well combined.
5. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, whip egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Slowly add sugar and increase speed to high. Whip until shiny and stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
6. Using a whisk, lighten the chocolate mixture with about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites. Stir until well combined. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in remaining egg whites until just incorporated.
7. Spoon mixture into prepared soufflé ramekins; the mixture should come up to the top of the ramekin. Transfer filled soufflé ramekins on rimmed baking sheet to oven. Bake until risen, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.*
*These soufflés may be made several hours in advance and kept in a refrigerator until just before baking. If refrigerated, bake an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, the soufflés may rest at room temperature for up to 1/2 hour before baking with no effect on cooking time.
Makes 6 servings.
Laura Joseph Mogil is a freelance writer and publicist residing in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. Her blog is online at http://inspiredchef.net/