SOUFFLE AU CHOCOLAT
Souffles are a quintessential French oeuvre, which, when inflated to perfection, give the cook a sense of mastery, if not triumph. La Chef says that most Americans request a souffle as part of the menu. A chocolate dessert souffle is an easy way to fulfill that request as well as to satisfy our national obsession with chocolate. If you follow the instructions, have the right equipment, and practice faith, your souffle will rise to the heavens before your very eyes.
1 cup milk
4 oz Valrhona chocolate (or an equivalent bittersweet chocolate such as Scharffen Berger), broken up into small pieces
1 oz sweet butter
2 TBSP flour
4 eggs, separated
1 pinch salt
1-1/2 oz white sugar
powdered sugar (optional)
1) Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the insides of 6 individual souffle ramekins with melted butter and set aside.
2) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil, remove from heat, and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
3) In a separate medium saucepan, melt the butter with the flour. Cook for 1 minute, then add the chocolate-milk mixture. Stir over low heat until thickened, without letting the mixture boil.
4) Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
5) Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, adding the white sugar a little at a time when the whites are almost fully stiff.
6) Fold the stiff egg whites carefully into the souffle mixture in the pan.
7) Fill each ramekin about 2/3 full with the souffle mixture.
8) Place the ramekins in the hot oven (475*) for 2 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until risen (about 15 minutes). It's best not to open the oven while the souffles are cooking, though you will want to peak through the oven glass occasionally to supervise their progress.
9) When inflated to perfection, remove the souffles from the oven and serve immediately. If you like, you can sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top of each souffle just before serving.