I’ve always had a thing for soufflés, chocolate soufflés to be exact, but I’ve never made them. There are a lot of things in the culinary world that people attach myths to, soufflés being one of them. The lore with soufflés is that they’re incredibly hard to make, near on impossible in fact. You end up with more ruined soufflés, than actual successes. Me? I bought in to that. Silly really, when they’re actually a lot easier to make than some might want you to believe.
This month for Baking on the 15th I was the host, and I thought it was time to tackle my fear of soufflés. I became Soufflé Girl! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist a Doctor Who reference, I just couldn’t.) Not only was it much easier than I expected, I would happily make these again. I decided to go with “Individual Chocolate Soufflés with Vanilla Bean Custard Sauce” (aka crème anglaise) from The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker. If you’re unfamiliar with this cookbook, it has an interesting way of writing things up, some argue confusing, but it’s one of the few cookbooks I actually still have a copy of, though I’ve never used it. Thankfully Kelly went through and typed up the recipe for me, since Jamison was having his first of several oral surgeries when the big reveal occurred, and cleared things up a bit as she went. This made it easy to print out and hang up for easy reference while baking:
I’m getting attached to this method of recipe gandering. 😉
First let’s talk ingredients:
The recipe called for coffee, rum, or water, but as I loathe coffee, and I wasn’t feeling the rum, while thinking the water was too bland, I decided to use some chocolate liqueur instead. I had originally thought chocolate vodka, but I realized I was out when I ventured out to the freezer. I remembered I had some Godiva liqueur in the cabinet and went with that instead and as I expected, it turned out pleasantly well.
The recipe said to place the bowl with the chocolate, liqueur and butter in a skillet of water, and I thought that was weird, so I did a double boiler set up instead:
I like double boilers. They make sense to me. I was worried about scorching the chocolate the other way, though I’m sure it would have worked. Maybe.
The recipe calls for using 10-11 ounce ramekins. I’m not sure what size me ramekins are. I’ve had them forever and they aren’t stamped on the bottom. I ended up using two different kinds to use up all the batter. Here they are buttered and sugared:
You see the smaller heart ramekins and the bigger round variety. I baked the round with the hearts first, and then baked an additional three in the white dishes.
They baked up perfectly! I mean look at this:
The “batter” was dreamy too:
Very smooth and creamy. Also airy, which I suppose you’re looking for with a soufflé.
The bigger ramekins baked up nicely as well:
Now let’s talk about the vanilla custard sauce aka crème anglaise!
This stuff was heavenly. Absolutely fabulous! It was good warm and was superb chilled! After the soufflés are baked, you punch a whole in the center and spoon in the crème anglaise. I found other uses for it too, such as drizzled over strawberries:
Or keeping with the strawberry theme, as they were in season a few weeks ago, how about on a nice slice of strawberry pie:
I even took the basic recipe for the crème anglaise and added (you guess it!) strawberries to it and made ice cream. I’ll definitely be making the sauce and the ice cream again too!
Mine didn’t end up deflating much, though the recipe said they would. They held their shape through to the next day. Surprisingly even Jamison tried one and liked it. Given they are gluten free, he was able. He doesn’t usually venture to try new things, but in this case he did. I recently got him to try bulgogi too, but that’s a story for another time. Lex liked them too, and of course I loved them!
Sometimes it’s good to go out of your comfort zone in the kitchen. Every time I have, I’ve been surprised by the result, usually in a good way. Who knows what I’ll tackle next? 😉