So this is the chocolate souffle recipe you’ve all been waiting for, the one I used for the mini-pilot I filmed with Johlt Productions last week. It’s a bit more like a flourless chocolate cake than a souffle though. It doesn’t give a whole lot of height like a traditional souffle would, primarily because the ratio of egg whites to the volume of the chocolate base is low. (In souffle-making, the mathematic equation is quite straightforward: the more egg whites, the more rise you get during baking.)
But alas, what comes up must come down, and most towering souffles do indeed collapse by the time you set them in front of your guests. Which is why I like these less fancy little things. They’re denser and more chocolaty and if you take them out at just the right moment, they’re a little gooey in the middle in the best possible way. They don’t rise as tall, but I think you’ll love them anyway.
I’m making these for Thanksgiving tomorrow, along with a pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin. (Which is in an entirely different class from canned pumpkin, if you’ve never tried it.) I was up late roasting the pumpkin, making pie dough, and measuring ingredients for the souffles, all of which I’m packing into the car this morning and carting with me to Santa Maria where I’ll be with my parents for the weekend. It’ll be just the three of us this year because my younger sister is living in Bangkok and my older sister is in Mexico visiting her new beau. I’m trying to keep my chin up but I won’t lie… we’re all feeling a little lonely here in California.
(Kate? Maya? Are you listening?)
Anyway, I phoned my parents last night to go over the grocery list and kitchen logistics one last time and my father was already busy making stock and seeding pomegranates. My mother was out on her third jaunt to the grocery stores.
Imagine if there were going to be more than three of us!
Bittersweet Chocolate Souffles
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon rum
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, separated
pinch of cream of tartar
Finely chop the bittersweet chocolate and place in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Combine chocolate with the next six ingredients (cream through salt) over low heat and stir gently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 35oF. Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a stand mixer (or with a hand held mixture) until soft peaks form. Whisk the yolks into the cooled chocolate mixture, then fold in one third of the whites. Gently fold until the whites are completely incorporated, then repeat with the remaining whites in two more batches. Be careful not to overmix; you don’t want to deflate the whites as you work.
Pour the souffles into 8 large (3/4 cup) ramekins and then transfer them to a baking sheet for easy transfer in and out of the oven. Place the sheet of prepared souffles on the center rack of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until they are puffed but still soft in the center. Allow to cool slightly before serving.