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Chocolate Souffles

Serves: Serves 8

Ingredients:

Chocolate Soufflés
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided use, plus more for ramekins
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Espresso Crème Anglaise, recipe follows
  • A little powdered sugar for sprinkling on top


Espresso Crème Anglaise
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup brewed espresso coffee
  • |2 tablespoons instant espresso powder


Procedures:

Place rack in middle of oven and turn on to 350°F. Butter eight 6-ounce individual soufflé dishes. Sprinkle inside of each with a bit of sugar, tipping to coat evenly. Set on baking sheet.

Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Do not let the bottom of the pot come into contact with the water. Heat until chocolate melts. Remove from heat and set aside while you make the base

Make soufflé base: Separate eggs, placing yolks in one mixer bowl and whites in another. Add ½ cup of the sugar and the salt to the egg yolks. Beat with mixer on medium-high speed until very light, fluffy and thick—about 3 minutes. (Mixture should be so thick that when you lift turned-off beaters, an egg yolk “ribbon” falls that takes 3 to 4 seconds to dissolve.) Set aside.

Stir cream and vanilla into the melted chocolate. Stir in ⅓ of the egg yolk mixture. Fold in remaining egg yolk mixture in 2 additions. Set aside.

Beat egg whites with mixer on medium speed until fluffy but not stiff —3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle in remaining 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Beat 1 minute longer on medium speed—until whites are shiny and firm but not stiff. (Beaten whites should form a soft peak —looks like top of a Dairy Queen ice cream cone—when turned-off beaters are lifted out.) Stir ⅓ of egg whites into chocolate base. Gently fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Divide evenly among prepared soufflé molds. At this point you can refrigerate the soufflés for several hours before baking, but then they will need to bake longer (20 to 23 minutes).

Bake and serve: Place molds on baking sheet in middle of oven and set timer for 15 minutes. Don’t open oven during baking. When timer goes off, soufflés should be puffed and cracked on top. When you gently shake the baking sheet, soufflés should jiggle only slightly (when you spoon out the center to eat, it should be creamy). If soufflés are really loose, quickly close oven and bake 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve immediately—before the soufflés begin to fall, have each guest crack open the top of the soufflé with a spoon and pour in the Espresso Crème Anglaise. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar.

Espresso Crème Anglaise

Pour the heavy cream and vanilla bean and seeds into a saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a brief simmer, until bubbles form around the edge of the pot; do not boil. Remove from heat. Discard the vanilla bean. The vanilla bean can be rinsed and dried and kept for another use.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, coffee, and espresso powder, until well blended. Temper the yolks by gradually whisking in the hot cream mixture (do not add too quickly or the eggs will cook.) Return the custard back to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately with Chocolate Soufflés. (If not serving immediately, press plastic wrap on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate.)

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchens.

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