The 15th of this month rolled around much more quickly than I anticipated, even with some thoughtful planning. We were away the last week of May and first week of June, and I thought it would be just fine to get the second challenge for our fledgling baking group, Baking on the 15th, done after our return. The recipe for “Individual Chocolate Souffles with Crème Anglaise” is very straightforward, and I’m no stranger to soufflés. Anything made with chocolate is motivating. What possibly could interfere?
Post vacation blues complicated by a serious case of jet lag and finished off by a hip joint that no longer hesitates to protest when it’s tired of overuse created the perfect trifecta. Several days of procrastination finally gave way to a complete giving in and getting off my feet. That’s not an easy thing for me to do, but it paid off because today, outside of some stiffness, I was able to indulge myself in a good morning bake. Chocolate soufflé for brunch!
I love soufflé but tend to make savory versions like this Green Chili and Cheddar Soufflé. The only time I’ve baked a sweet soufflé was when we were preparing to visit Paris for the first time. I enjoy making dishes that are a reflection of the places we’ll visit and happened to be reading The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebowitz at the time. His “Souffle au Fromage Blanc” was published in the memoir and so I tried it. As was often the case, I never got around to writing a post about it. Still, my effort was good.
I suppose my positive track record with soufflés had me thinking all would be well with this challenge. At the onset, I’d say it was a success — until I realized the four soufflés rising quite nicely through the oven glass, were cracking.
How could this be? Time remained and the thought of a too moist center didn’t appeal to me. Still, I’d need to split the soufflés right from the oven to pour in the Crème Anglaise, so what difference would it make if they were cracked? I took them out, finished setting them up so I could quickly take photos, then sampled one.
Heavenly, chocolatey flavor complimented by what tasted like vanilla ice cream minus the freeze. Four or five bites savored and I’d finished one. My curiosity to inspect one of the remaining three helped prevent me from consuming another. Each had a pleasant crust on the top. The sides were firm and had a cake-like texture. The center was more moist. Overall, it reminded me of a decadent brownie, but without the dense chewy quality. In comparison to the center, the exterior sides were dry. Finally, I realized what had happened.
I neglected to adjust the baking time even though my ramekins held only four ounces as compared to the 10-11 ounces called for in the recipe. It’s no wonder that at the 10 minute mark, they had risen beautifully, and by 15 minutes were cracking.
Twelve minutes would probably have been perfect. Of course I know this, and there’s nothing wrong with my reading comprehension. Just call me caviler — or distracted, which is more the case.
Still, the soufflés are easy to prepare and take relatively little time. Use the option to prepare them ahead and keep in the fridge until baking time. Your dinner guests will have fun watching them rise then enjoy them piping hot from the oven.
And if all fails, punt! It will still be a delicious dessert!
Many, many thanks to Dianne of Dianne’s Dishes who volunteered to host this month’s challenge. I hope you are able to take time to pay her a visit and say hello!
As always, thank you so much for reading!
My Notes on the Recipe:
- I halved the entire recipe. Four-4 oz. ramekins filled to the top left me with only a tad of the batter — not much to do anything with. There was plenty of the crème anglaise to pour into the soufflés with about half left over. It’s delicious poured over just about anything sweet — hot or cold.
- I used The Macallan Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey Double Cask 12 year for the liquid in the soufflé batter. The lovely caramel of it seemed a perfect match for the Guittard bittersweet chocolate I used. We took a tour of The Macallan Distillery in Speyside when we were in Scotland a couple of weeks ago and because we were driving, opted for takeaway vials for the whiskey. I highly recommend the tour whether you’re someone who enjoys drinking whiskey or not. It was enlightening, and I now understand just why those bottles of amber liquid cost as much as they do!
- I sprinkled sugar on the top of two of the soufflés before baking and love the crisp texture it provides in the finished product.
- If you’re not sure about how much your containers will hold, use a measuring cup and water to help you decide.
- For a great video on making chocolate soufflé, take a look at this one from the Bon Appetit test kitchen.