The best? Period. Soufflés used to scare me. I bet it scares you folks out there too. As Gordon Ramsay always says on Masterchef (I watched too much Masterchef), it is the dessert that even most professional chefs are afraid of. Made a la minute for the guests and if it sucks, it sucks. All you can do is dig and hole and bury your head in it. Mine has exploded every single time I made it back in Singapore but I think I’ve finally mastered the art of it in Paris with of course the aid of an incredible incredible incredible recipe. Did I already say incredible? Incredible recipe.
The best I’ve ever made and the best I’ve ever tasted myself. Let’s just put it this way. I died when I tasted it. I couldn’t stop. It was light, airy, slightly gooey in the middle and not heavy at all! Paired with the cold silky custard I made earlier on, it was pure perfection on a plate. It’s no wonder they call the Soufflé the king of desserts. (Okay I just made that up but I’d like to think that’s how people regard them as) It’s so utterly superb that I really have no words for it. I call it, ‘The Indescribable’. There’s no word big and magnificent enough to describe these beauties that I have no choice but to let the photos do the talking.
And behold, the mighty Chocolate Soufflé.
Is it possible that I’m actually obsessed and addicted to the beauty of these Soufflés?? From the height of it, to the dark chocolatey goodness, I can’t stop looking at them!! This is, I think, the epitome of “food pornography”. There’s no way you guys can tear your eyes away from them. I know I can’t.
Soufflés are the most exciting to bake. If it’s a success and you see the height it rose to, there’s no better feeling in the world. And then if it’s awful, well, then that’s just slight depressing but you get over it. But the adrenaline and excitement that comes from not knowing how it’ll turn out and then poof! you see it all tall and mighty, that’s something you need to experience for yourself. Note that this comes with numerous prior failures for only then do you really know the feeling of success.
The Best Hot Chocolate Soufflé:
egg whites – 220g
caster sugar – 50g
yolks – 40g
Guanaja 70% – 135g
butter – 60g
Preheat your oven to 190C – 200C.
Butter your ramekins once with softened butter and leave to chill in the fridge. Once it has hardened, remove and coat a second time with butter. Sprinkle shavings of chocolate (or if you prefer cocoa powder or just caster sugar) into the ramekins and make sure that all the butter has been covered with it. Set aside.
Over a bain marie, heat the butter and chocolate until melted. Set aside to cool slightly. The mixture should still be slightly warm when you incorporate your meringue.
In a clean bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium high speed until medium peaks form. Slowly add in the sugar in thirds and whisk until it is at medium to stiff peaks. // Do not over whip the egg whites or they will split and be grainy. //
Add in the yolks and with a quick turn of the mixer, incorporate it in the egg whites.
Add in 1/4 of the meringue into the chocolate mixer and mix vigorously using a spatula until you have a balance of consistency between the two mixtures. Add in the 2nd quarter and start folding it gently, incorporating it well as you go along. Add in the third followed by the fourth quarter of the meringue until all is well incorporated and the mixture is airy and light. It should be almost like the consistency of a macaron paste.
// Many think soufflés should be handled as little as possible but I learnt from a chef back in Singapore that when you beat the mixture around slightly and make it a little more liquid, it reduces the size of big air bubbles and that leaves you with a soufflé with very fine air pockets which is lovely on your palate. But of course if you prefer it super airy with an almost heaving consistency, but all means it will still work and rise. //
Using a piping bag fitted with a 20mm nozzle, fill your ramekins almost to about 3/4 of it. Using an angled spatula, sweep the mixture up the sizes of the ramekin. This ensures that there will be no unfilled areas in the ramekin. Once done, top it off with the more mixture and using a big flat spatula, swipe it across to create a flat surface.
Using your thumb, wipe it around the rim of a ramekin to create a ridge.
Bake for 11-12 minutes depending on how cooked you like your Soufflé to be. I rotate it at at the half interval to ensure even baking and rising.
Serve hot under 90seconds with a sprinkling of icing sugar and a drizzle of cold Crème Anglaise. The contrast between the hot and cold is sublime.