Hot Chocolate Soufflé
January 1, 1970Adapted from Nathalie Dupree’s Chocolate Souffle
Serves 4 to 6
Soufflès are not difficult to make or magical, but they seem that way to the uninitiated. Guests are always thrilled by them. The trick is to avoid overcooking them as the bubbles will burst and the soufflé will fall. An undercooked soufflé, on the other hand, may be removed from the oven and served, then placed back in the oven if need be. It is important to have serving plates ready and the guests eagerly awaiting the soufflé. I can’t stress enough how different every soufflé dish
is. They range in size dramatically. The time will have to be adjusted to the size of the dish.
To Make a Soufflé
•A soufflé base may be made a day or two in advance, and baked when ready to serve.
before baking. If made ahead more than a few hours, use one more egg white to assure volume. Placing the soufflé dish on a metal pan in the oven will give the rise a boost. Be sure to remove the top rack from the oven so the soufflé may rise.
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted but¬ter, at room temperature
5 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divid¬ed between the base and the whites
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate bits, preferably Ghirardelli
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 heaping tablespoons semisweet chocolate bits, preferably Ghiradelli
Preheat oven to 350 de¬gre¬es. Butter a 1½-quart (about 5 cups) soufflé dish with 1/2 tablespoon butter and coat with some of the sugar. Make a paper collar, and butter and sugar it, too.
Stir milk into the cornstarch in a pan until smooth. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add the chocolate to the cornstarch mixture along with 2 tablespoons of the butter and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Stir until the butter and chocolate are melt¬ed, putting back over low heat if necessary. Make sure all the bits have melted. Remove from the heat, and stir in the egg yolks, 1 at a time. May be prepared ahead to this point and covered with plas¬tic wrap.
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold in 2 tablespoons sug¬ar, and beat to stiff, shiny peaks. Stir 3 or 4 tablespoons of the egg white mixture into the soufflé base to lighten it, then fold this mixture into the egg whites, using a figure eight motion.
Pour the mixture into the prepared souf¬flé dish. Smooth the surface with a spatula. (May be pre¬pa¬red ahead to this point. Re¬frigerate if holding more than 1 hour. Bring back to room tempera¬ture before cook¬ing.)
One half hour before serv¬ing, transfer the soufflé to a hot metal pan in the lower third of the hot oven with no rack above it. Bake for 25 minutes for a soft center, or 30 to 35 minutes for a firmer one. Serve at once sprin¬kled with the Confe¬ctioners' sugar and accom¬panied by the sauce.
As the soufflé bakes, prepare the sauce by heating the cream in a heavy pan or in the microwave. When hot, add the chocolate and cook until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside until need¬ed. Will keep in the refrig¬erator 1 or 2 weeks, covered. Reheat over low heat or in the microwave if necessary.
Variation: Instead of using sugar to coat the soufflé dish, try crumbs from chocolate wafer cookies.
Tip: If soufflé falls and there isn’t much time, place the soufflé in the microwave for 10-second intervals until it rises again. Repeat as needed. Alternately, if time allows, if the soufflé hasn’t been overcooked, place the soufflé back into the oven until it rises once again.