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From the French term meaning ‘To blow up’, this is a fabulous and dramatic dessert that comes with a certain amount of ‘wow’ factor. It is made from a custard base with whipped egg whites folded in which, when heated, provide the lift.
- 160g egg white
- 60g caster sugar
- about 20g unsalted butter at room temperature (for buttering)
- about 2 tablespoons of caster sugar (for sugaring)
- about 2 tablespoons of icing sugar (for dusting)
- For the base:
- 225ml milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 40g caster sugar
- 25g strong white flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 30g chocolate chips (optional)
- 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
- Put the egg yolks and the 40g of sugar into a large bowl and whisk them together.
- Add the flour and cocoa powder and mix it to make a smooth paste.
- Put the milk into a pan and bring it to the boil. When it is boiling, start whisking the chocolate paste and then pour about ¼ of the milk into the paste and continue to whisk until it has mixed together thoroughly.
- Put the remaining milk into the mixture, stir it in, then pour the mixture into a clean pan and put it back on the heat to bring it to the boil again. Keep whisking it all the time until it has thickened.
- Tip the chocolate mixture back into the original bowl, put a piece of cling-film/plastic-wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Evenly butter the inside of your ramekins using a pastry brush. Then pour the 2 tablespoons of sugar into one of the ramekins and roll it around until the inside is completely coated. Pour out the loose, excess sugar into another ramekin and repeat the process. Put them into the fridge to set the butter.
- Preheat the oven to 180°c.
- Put the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk them (ideally with an electric hand whisk) until they have reached the soft peak stage (when the whisk is taken out of the egg whites the peaks left by the whisk should be limp and rounded).
- Pour the sugar into the egg whites and then continue to whisk them until they reach the stiff-peak stage (when the whisk is removed from the egg whites, the peaks left by the whisk should be pointed and firm.
- Remove the cling-film/plastic-wrap from the chocolate base mixture, weigh out 200g of it and add the chocolate chips and brandy to it. (The remaining base mixture can be kept and frozen.)
- Stir in the chocolate chips and brandy and then put in about ½ of the beaten egg whites and fold it in using a metal spoon or spatula.
- Add the remaining egg white and again, fold it in.
- Spoon the chocolate mixture into the buttered and sugared ramekins, firmly tap each one on your work top counter (to get the mixture into all the corners) and then level off the top using a palette knife or the straight edge of a butter knife.
- Wipe the top of the rim of each ramekin (this stops any residue from cooking first and sticking to the main body of the soufflé which would cause it to lean).
- Cook them in the oven for 12 minutes. During cooking, prepare a sieve with some icing sugar in it. Also, do not open the oven door. Not even once. (They will collapse otherwise.)
- Remove the soufflés from the oven, quickly dust them with the icing sugar and serve them instantly.
- A soufflé rises beacause, as the mixture heats up in the oven, moisture evaporates into the bubbles formed in the beaten egg whites. The moisture in each bubble expands and causes the bubbles to rise, pushing the top of the soufflé upwards.
- When the soufflés come out of the oven, every second counts because they immediately start to cool which causes them to deflate. They can become flat in only a couple of minutes.
- The hallmarks of a good soufflé are a soft but not liquid middle, a firm, almost crisp, top and it should have a significant rise that goes straight up, not tilting to one side or bulbous.