Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chocolate Souffle

Understanding that a souffle is a work of art, I set about to try my hand at this art. Souffle is not my favorite thing to eat (it's not rich and dense enough), but it is still a yummy dessert. I would say that my first attempt was a success as far as preparation and taste goes. However, the souffle dish was filled a little too full, and thus, my souffle puffed up so nice and high that it spilled over the sides of the dish. So, I don't have a picture of the finished product, but be assured that it was fabulous.

Chocolate Souffle
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
Whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2-quart souffle dish and dust it with sugar. Have a 9x13-inch baking pan ready and put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of about 1 1/2 inches of simmering water, whisking until smooth. My first choice for chocolate is Scharffen Berger, but if you can't find it, Guittard makes an excellent semisweet morsel that can be found in most grocery stores. Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks and butter until well blended.

Beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the whites form soft peaks when the beaters are lifted. Beat in the sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat just until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted.

With a whisk or a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly, and pour the mixture into the souffle dish. Place the dish in the baking pan, place it in the oven, and add enough boiling water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the souffle dish. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the souffle is set but the center is still jiggly and soft.

Serve immediately, with the whipped cream, if using. I highly recommend using the whipped cream to complement the chocolate.

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