Wow! Just wow! These chocolate soufflés are simply heavenly: light, pillowly outside and then delectably soft and melty inside. The first spoonful was tentative; after that, these soufflés were attacked with relish! If you have the time, give them a go: you won’t be disappointed.
What you need…
4 x 180ml ramekin dishes, lightly but thoroughly buttered
25g 70% dark chocolate, finely grated
for the ganache (a word that simply means whipped cream and chocolate)
4 tablespoons double cream
50g 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tablespoon cocoa
for the crème patisserie (don’t be put off, this essentially is French for posh, flavoured custard)
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon cornflour
1 egg yolk
1 whole egg
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon double cream
25g 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
for the egg whites
6 egg whites (freeze the yolks for a future Tiramisu!)
85g caster sugar
What to do…
For the ganache: gently warm the cream in a pan. Just before it boils, remove from the heat and tip in the chocolate. With a wooden spoon, stir vigorously to dissolve the chocolate, gradually adding in the cocoa to create a lovely velvety texture. Set aside to cool.
And now to the crème patisserie: mix together the flour, sugar and cornflour.
Put your egg and egg yolk into a large mixing bowl and, using a handheld electric whisk, whisk them together. Whilst whisking, add in half the flour mixture to create a smooth paste then, tip in the rest and whisk until fully incorporated. Set aside.
Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat, tip in the chocolate and, using a small balloon whisk, whisk until the chocolate is all melted and the mixture is smooth.
Gradually stir the melted chocolate mix into the flour paste. When mixed in return to the pan and cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Towards the end of the 5 minutes, you will notice that it is thickening up, turning into a smooth paste. Remove from the heat and set aside until cold, mixing occasionally with the balloon whisk.
Prepare your ramekin dishes by tipping some of the grated chocolate into each one, rolling the dish around and tilting it as you do to ensure that the dish is evenly coated in chocolate.
Preheat oven to 180c / 350 f / gas 4.
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks using your electric hand whisk. Whilst still whisking, gradually sprinkle in the caster sugar and keep whisking to create stiff peaks (it’s this that will give the light volume to the soufflés)
In a large bowl, mix together the crème patisserie and ganache. With a spatula, stir in 2 tablespoons of egg white, then carefully fold in 1/3 of the rest, cutting through the mixture. Fold in another 1/3. Switch to a balloon whisk and fold in the remainder – don’t overwork it: you’ll lose the volume.
Spoon the mixture into the dishes, filling them up. Then bang the dishes on your work surface to make sure the mixture fills each ramekin evenly.
Sprinkle a little grated chocolate (left over from coating the ramekins) into the centre of each. Pop your soufflés onto a baking tray and bake for 18-20 minutes or until they are risen and are set on the top but wobble nicely when moved!
Serve on their own, with double cream or salted caramel ice cream (previously blogged). It doesn’t matter, these heavenly hot chocolate soufflés are divine!
You could prepare the crème patisserie and ganache a couple of hours in advance, if you were having these little gorgeousnesses for dinner, leaving you very little to do just before serving. They would need to be kept somewhere cool but not as cold as the fridge.
Whenever I need good quality dark chocolate in baking, I use ‘Menier Chocolat Patissier’. It’s great chocolate, easily available and very easy to break up for the required weights listing in recipes. It also comes in 100g bars, which works perfectly for this pud.
They’re not difficult but you need to have time on your hands to allow the ganache and the chocolate mixture for the crème patisserie to cool. There’s also quite a lot of clearing up to do. When I’d finished making them and was peering in the oven to see if they were going to rise to the occasion, I wasn’t sure that they were worth the time, effort and mess, but on tasting them, I concurred that they absolutely were!