Soufflé making secrets and a recipe for chocolate soufflé

A couple weeks ago, my cousin and I signed up for a Soufflé class at Chef Joe’s Culinary Salon. I have been fascinated with soufflés ever since I was a child. Mostly, I had only seen them being made in movies and of course because it was a movie, they always turn into a disaster. A year ago, I had the best chocolate souffle ever at a Wolfgang Puck Restaurant in Las Vegas and I was in love.  It was like  heaven (not that I’ve ever been to heaven), so I was determined to learn how to make one.

Chocolate Soufflé at Wolfgang Puck’s

I tried different recipes online, but they didn’t turn out the way I expected them so I signed up for a  Soufflé class at Chef Joe’s Culinary Salon.

We were split up into 6 groups of two or three and each group made one soufflé. We made three sweet soufflés one of which was my all time favorite, chocolate soufflé, the skillet lemon soufflé, and Grand Marnier soufflé.  I was in the group that made the Grand Marnier.  They were all amazingly good. I personally wished I could make them all in the class and nagged to chef that I want to do them all, but unfortunately time did not permit.
In the savory category, we made an amazing cheese soufflé and a spinach soufflé.  We ate a lot that day and I wish I could take all the left overs home, but the problem with soufflé is you have to put it in the oven as fast as you can and eat it as fast as you can or else you will lose the puff.

Gran Marnier  soufflé

 

Skillet Lemon soufflé

 

Cheese soufflé

I’ll tell you a couple of key things I learned in this class:

  • Mise en place: french phrase that means: everything in place,. Get all your ingredients ready before you start. If you beat the egg whites and your other ingredients are not ready, your whites will probably go bad and lose the froth. This is the first thing Chef Joe taught us.
  • Beating the egg whites is key. You don’t want to over do it and certainly don’t want it to be runny. Copper bowl and cream of tartar help you get the perfect frothy egg whites.
  • Put the soufflé in the oven as soon as it’s ready or else you will lose the puff. Do not store in the fridge. (exception applies to the chocolate soufflé,  you can freeze (not refrigerate)  up to a month. Do not thaw, and directly put it in the oven)
So without any further ado, here is Chef Joe’s Chocolate Soufflé recipe:
Serving: 8 to 10 4 1/2 ounce remkins
Ramekin Prep:
  • 3 Tbs. butter, softened
  • 2-3 Tbs. sugar

Soufflés:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch peices
  • 1 Tbs. Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 6 large egg yolks plus 8 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
Prepare the ramekins:
  • Grease 8-10 4 1/2 ounce ramekins with the softened butter and coat inside of each with sugar.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
Prepare the Soufflé:
  • Melt chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan with an inch of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the Grand Marnier, vanilla, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl, whip the egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and a few table spoons warm water until mixture triples in volume and is thick and pale yellow. (You can use can electric beater or balloon whip). Fold the yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture.
  • In a clean dry bowl (copper preferred), whip egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue whipping for a minute or two (until soft peaks are formed) whip in the confectioner’s sugar until stiff glossy peaks are formed. Do not over whip.
  • Vigorously stir in 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate soufflé base. Gently fold in the remaining whites to the chocolate mixture until just incorporated.
  • Spoon mixture into the prepared ramekins almost to the rim, wiping the excess off from the rims with a damp paper towel. * If baking right away, (not frozen) place ramekins on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees, on a middle rack for 12-14 minutes.
*To store and then bake:
  • Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and then foil and freeze for at least 3 hours or up to a month. Do not thaw before baking.
  • Uncover and place on a sheet pan. For frozen soufflés,  bake at 400 degrees on a middle rack for 20-22 minutes. Serve immediately.
Bon appétit!