One of the food blogs that I frequent is Cooking for Engineers by Michael Chu. What I like about his site is that he shows step by step pictures. Also, as an engineer, he analyzes everything. He adds explanations as to why certain stuff works, and why certain stuff doesn’t work. As a beginner in the kitchen, I find his explanations really helpful and refreshing. He also uses a scale, in addition to the measuring cups and spoons, because as you know, baking is an exact science.
Recently, I found something funny from his blog. I was reading his community forum’s discussion on how to make a pie crust. So everybody contributed on how to make a perfect, flaky crust, using either weight measurement or cup measurement. Then, one person interjected and said:
“Sorry but I have to reply.
Your all engineers (or have minds like one) BUT you use cups???
These things should be scaled by weight.
a cup of flour doesn’t give you enough to work out how to do it properly.
If the cup lightly packed and unsifted
unpacked and unsifted
Sifted and lightly packed
siftend and unpacked.
All of these will give you different amounts of flour.
Use an accurate scale it will give you a more consistant crust.
Pastries is an art of science, a science that required accuracy at every moment.
Sorry, I had to say it!!”
I chuckled when I read that person’s comment. 🙂
So from Michael’s site, I found this very easy to make Dark Chocolate Soufflé recipe. Soufflé is basically an inflated baked cake based on beaten egg white. But, if you google the word souffle, it will also pulled the medical term version of souffle. According to the American Heritage Medical Dictionary, the word souffle means “A soft blowing sound heard on auscultation.” According to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, the word souffle means “a soft murmur heard through a stethoscope.” Now I won’t look at soufflé the same way and will remember that word “soft murmur” in that inflated baked cake! Ha ha.. just kidding…
I never bought a soufflé before, so I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to come out or taste like. The first time I made this soufflé was several years ago, during a weekend dinner with my mother-in-law. I asked my mother-in-law if she ever had soufflé before, and if the one I made tasted like a real soufflé. She commented that the consistency of the soufflé was right. So for blogging purposes, I made this soufflé again several weeks ago. I want to document and share this recipe with my nephew, Jojo, as well as sharing it with my friends.
What I needed was the dark chocolate bar, heavy cream, sugar, eggs, cream of tartar and butter.
I let the eggs sat on the counter for 20 – 30 minutes to warm up to room temperature. I have read that for baking, you want your ingredients to be close to room temperature so that the chemical reaction between the ingredients can be smooth. I wasn’t too worried about the butter or cream since I was going to heat them up anyway.
First, I broke off the eggs and separated the egg yolks from the egg whites. I needed only two egg yolks for this recipe, so I saved the other egg yolk for future use. Then, for the egg whites, I went ahead and put them into a metal mixing bowl. I had read that to beat egg white, you need to use a clean glass or metal bowl. If the bowl is not clean (i.e. oil residue, etc.), then the egg white will not rise properly. Then I set this egg white aside and started working on the chocolate.
In another bowl, I broke off the dark chocolate bar. I used Ghirardelli’s 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate because that’s what I can find in my grocery stores. A lot of people like to use Trader Joe’s or Scharffen Berger’s baking chocolate. I am not going to go all over the town to chase down some chocolate. A 60% cacao content from Ghirardelli would do just fine for me. Notice that I was being lazy. I only broke off the chocolate rather than shaving the chocolate with a serrated knife. From my experience, the shaved chocolate melted within a minute or two while the broken chocolate takes longer, and you need to keep stirring it to help it melt and reach the heat at the bottom of your bowl.
Then I put in that dollop of butter on top of chocolate. When I did that, I felt like… something was not right here. I am so used to with a stick or two sticks of butter PW used in her cooking/baking that this little tiny dollop does not feel right. 🙂
Then I poured the heavy cream into the bowl with the chocolate.
And I poured a little water into a pot, and heated it up. I put the bowl of chocolate on top of this pot, and let the chocolate melt. Occasionally I stirred the chocolate to make sure that every piece of chocolate received the heat from the bowl.
When all of the chocolate melted, it resembled a smooth and shiny chocolate liquid.
At this point, I tested the heat of the bowl. It was not too hot, so I can put in the egg yolk in the melted chocolate.
I put one egg yolk in the bowl…
I whisked the egg yolk, and the chocolate mixture did not look so smooth anymore.
By the time I finished adding and whisking the second egg yolk, the chocolate mixture changed into a gritty looking mixture.
Then I was ready to tackle the egg white. I dropped a dash of the cream tartar in the egg white bowl. It’s that white spec in the picture.
Then, I beat the egg white with a mixer.
Within three minutes I got this peak. Now, when I was beating the egg white, I was still confused by the definition of soft peak and stiff peak. Well, I know what stiff means… and I remember how stiff peak should look like. So, when I came up with this peak, I figured, well, it is a peak. But I wasn’t sure what peak was it at the time. Now, as I was typing this post and had more time, I went back to Michael’s blog and re-read his direction, and I decided that this peak picture resembles stiff peak. What do you think? I guess I need to do more reading next time I deal with egg whites again.
So I continued and putting the sugar on the egg white foam…
And beat it again until it has a stiff peak.
Then, I folded the egg white to the chocolate mixture a little bit at a time.
Until all egg whites were added to the chocolate mixture, and all were incorporated.
Then I poured some sugar into a greased ramekin, and rolled the ramekin around until all the insides of the ramekin were coated with sugar.
Then the chocolate mixture was poured into these ramekins, and baked for 15 minutes at 375F degrees.
Now, bakers beware! I forgot to set the timer on this, so I really have no idea if I overbaked, or underbaked the soufflé. I think I overbaked the soufflé by a few minutes, because we did not get the gooey liquidy center in the soufflé. But, all in all, it was still tasted good. Though, my hubby commented, it was such a small ramekin… I guess I know what to put on my Christmas list… a giant ramekin for my hubby… ha ha..
Serve the soufflé immediately after you pulled it out of the oven. And as soon as you take it out of the oven, the soufflé will start shrinking back into the ramekin. Without the hot air inside the oven, the air bubble trapped inside the soufflé will subside.
This batch of soufflé came out with cracked surface. I wasn’t even satisfied with the height of the soufflé. It was only one side and on one of the soufflé!
I went back to my photo archive, and my first batch came out okay. Its height came out about 1 cm above the ramekin’s rim and it did not have a cracked surface. I did the same steps, except I have a different oven now. So I wonder my old oven was less hot than this new one? I will have to remember that the next time I make soufflé, to adjust the temperature or the cooking time…
Oh well, baking is a learning process right? Enjoy!
Print recipe here.
Dark Chocolate Soufflé
Adapted from: Cooking for Engineers
1 ounce (30 mL) heavy cream
4 oz. (115 g) 60% cacao dark chocolate
½ tablespoon (7 g) butter
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites
a dash of cream of tartar
1/6 cup (35 g) sugar
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease ramekins and coat the inside of
ramekin with sugar.
• Melt the chocolate, butter, and heavy cream in a double boiler pan, let cool.
• Whisk in the egg yolk one by one into the chocolate mixture, set aside.
• Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until it reach soft peaks.
• Then add in the sugar into the egg whites, and continue to beat until it reach stiff peaks.
• Fold in beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture a little bit by a little bit, until
• Pour chocolate mixture into prepared ramekins, fill the ramekins up to ¾ way up.
• Bake for 15 minutes, serve immediately.