The soufflé has gained a reputation of being incredibly difficult to make. With many TV chefs, cooks and programmes placing the soufflé on a pedestal, it makes the soufflé sound much harder to make than it is. I challenged myself to tackle the soufflé and it was an adventure with many ups and downs but here is my guide to making Chocolate Soufflé.
Soufflés are challenging because the soufflé instantly deflates when it comes out of the oven if it is overbaked or underbaked (as I found out) as the air bubbles generated by whisking the egg whites burst leading to the soufflé collapsing, so getting the baking time perfect is essential! And when you are trying to film and photograph the soufflé as quickly as possible before it sinks, it certainly adds to the stress.
But at heart, the techniques for making a soufflé aren’t all that difficult. It’s making a pastry cream and whisking egg whites to a stiff peak before folding it in; the actual baking is the hardest part. The end result, however, should be a nicely risen chocolate soufflé. The texture of a good chocolate soufflé is a cross between that of a chocolate mousse and a chocolate cake; it should be light but not as aerated as a mousse with a consistency between a mousse and a cake.
There are a few ways you can ‘encourage’ the rise of the soufflé. When you grease the ramekins, grease in an upward motion as theoretically the mixture follows the direction of the greasing. The ramekins are dusted with sugar which gives something for the soufflé mixture to cling on to and rise. Running your thumb around the top of the ramekin to clean it will prevent any drops of batter disrupting the rise.
The ramekins I am using are Quick Recipe porcelain ramekins, which are available from Harts of Stur. They may look like a normal ramekin but hide a QR code on the base. Simply scanning with your iPhone or Android app will link you to a list of recipes suitable for your porcelain dish. Each of the recipes contain a step-by-step guide as well as the ability to email the shopping list of ingredients to yourself if you want to try something out.
The idea of being able to have an item in your kitchen and you can look up what to make with it is a unique concept and one that makes a lot of sense too! Gone are the days of scrambling through the cupboards looking for a certain dish or tin specified in a recipe, instead the recipe is tailored towards your porcelain dishes. The ramekins themselves are really good quality and feel sturdy. I have found myself using them to microwave small quantities of ingredients for other recipes as well as for baking, which is by far my favourite thing about them.
Watch my YouTube video to see the Quick Recipe ramekins in action and check out me making the chocolate souffles too!
Margarine, for greasing
Sugar, for lining the ramekins
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
½ tsp vanilla extract
150ml whole milk
75g dark chocolate
2 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Place a small amount of margarine into each ramekin and microwave for 20 – 30 seconds until melted. Either using a pastry brush or a piece of kitchen roll, grease the ramekins in an upward motion. Coat the insides of the ramekins with granulated sugar, tipping away the excess. Refrigerate until needed.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
In a small, mix together the 2 egg yolks with the granulated sugar, the plain flour and the vanilla extract until it forms a smooth paste. Whisk in the whole milk and transfer to a saucepan over a medium heat. Whisking constantly, cook the pastry cream until it has thickened and is smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.
Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until just melted. Add to the pastry cream and stir well to combine. Set this mixture aside.
In a clean metal bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar gradually and continue whisking until the egg whites hold a stiff peak.
Take about a third of the whipped egg whites and whisk it into the chocolate pastry cream to loosen up the consistency. Carefully fold through the remaining two-thirds of the egg whites into the pastry cream, scraping around the bowl and cutting through the centre, stopping once the soufflé mixture looks even and not streaky.
Pour the soufflé mixture into the ramekins filling them right up to the top. Level out the surface with a straight edge (the back of a large knife or a dough scraper) and run your thumb around the edge of the ramekin to clean the edges.
Place the ramekins onto a baking tray and bake the soufflés for around 15 – 18 minutes until the soufflés have risen well and when you gently shake the tray/tin, there is a slight jiggle in the centre.
Serve the soufflés immediately, finishing with a dusting of icing sugar.
As with all of my reviews, I keep the product after reviewing it and do not directly receive payment for this review. I have not been told to write falsely positive comments about the product and everything is my own opinion.
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