Chocolate Soufflés with Mocha Creme Anglaise
Why choose between coffee or chocolate after dinner when you can have both?
This delightful chocolate soufflé is made even better with a mocha crème anglaise. Like omelets and risotto, a soufflé must be served the moment it leaves the oven. The hot air of the oven gets trapped in the air bubbles of the meringue-based batter, making the soufflé puff and rise ("souffler" means to blow, puff, or even whisper, in French, all of which speaks to the delicate nature of this timeless dessert). Once the soufflé hits the relatively colder air of the kitchen, it is only a matter if time before it deflates. Break the soufflé open with a fork, pour in the mocha sauce, and indulge!
Equipment: large mixing bowls; dry and wet measuring cup; measuring spoons; cutting board; paring or chef’s knife; whisk; rubber spatula; wooden spoon; saucepan; strainer or chinois; ramekins
Soufflés Ingredients: ½ cup whole milk 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1/3 cup sugar 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 3 large egg yolks 6 large egg whites pinch of kosher salt butter and extra sugar for the ramekins
Mocha Crème Anglaise Ingredients:
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup heavy cream
1½ cups crushed coffee beans
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1. First, set up the mise en place for the soufflés to give the egg whites time to come to room temperature.
2. Then prepare the crème anglaise. Heat the milk, heavy cream, and crushed coffee beans in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to infuse for 20 minutes.
3. After 20 minutes, strain the mixture through a chinois (pictured below), or a fine mesh sieve lined in cheesecloth. Place the chopped chocolate in the pan and return the infused milk and cream to the pan. Let the chocolate and milk mixture rest for one minute, then combine with a whisk. Adjust the heat to medium.
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the yolks and sugar with a clean whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and light.
Beating egg yolks with sugar until the mixture becomes a thick and creamy pastel yellow is called blanchir, meaning "to whiten" in French.
5. Temper the egg mixture with one third of the hot mocha mixture. Return this tempered egg mixture to the remaining hot mocha mixture in the pan and cook gently, over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and leaves a track when you run your fingertip through it.
6. Strain the sauce immediately into a large bowl through a sieve lined with cheesecloth, or a chinois, to rid of any remaining crushed coffee beans, as well as any potentially scrambled egg. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. 7. To prepare the soufflés, place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Lightly grease 4 small, 6-ounce ramekins with butter and coat each with ½ tablespoon sugar, shaking out any excess.
Preparing the ramekins in this fashion is called "chemiser," meaning to dress the vessel ("chemise" means "shirt" in French). You can take the preparation one step further, if you wish: placing a greased parchment collar around the lip of the ramekin, extended a few inches above the dish keeps the soufflé confined to that space so that it rises up rather than spills over. It is not essential, but it will bring your results to new heights, literal and figurative!
8. Whisk together the milk, cornstarch, and half the 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan until smooth. Cook, whisking over moderate heat until the mixture boils and thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
9. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, over low heat, until smooth. Remove the bowl from heat and stir in the yolks, then beat in the thickened milk mixture. Set aside.
10. Beat all 6 egg whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining sugar, then beat until the whites hold stiff peaks. Stir one quarter of the whites into the chocolate/yolk/milk mixture to lighten it, then gently but thoroughly fold in the remaining whites.
11. Spoon the mixture into ramekins. Make sure the rim of each ramekin is clean to allow the soufflés to rise (use your thumb or a small tear of a paper towel to wipe away any excess butter, sugar, or batter).
12. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until soufflés are puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
ILOC tip: do not slam the over door or do anything in the kitchen that will rattle the soufflés while they bake. The process is one of technique, and you definitely do not want to torture the batter.
13. Serve immediately with the mocha crème anglaise.
Makes 4 servings.