A soufflé is a light, airy cake that originated in France in the 1700s and was first recorded in "The Art of the Cook" in 1814. It got its name from the French word "souffler", which means to "puff up". Depending on the ingredients, it can be a dessert or a savory main dish.
Given that a soufflé is rather delicate, it is served in the ramekin in which it is baked, quickly upon coming out of the oven. A soufflé is a bit tricky to make but worth the effort.
While there are an infinite number of flavor combinations, my favorite soufflé is chocolate. Recipe below.
Preparation time 45 minutes Bake time 15 minutes Makes 8 soufflés
225 grams (8 ounces or 1⅓ cup) dark chocolate (60% cacao), broken into pieces
115 grams (1 stick) butter
6 eggs, separated and at room temperature
pinch of salt
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
65 grams (⅓ cup) sugar
Butter and sugar, for coating ramekins
Confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder, for dusting
Brush 8 ramekins (size: 8oz/240ml) generously with soft butter and then coat with sugar. Place the ramekins in the freezer until needed.
Measure the ingredients.
Put the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl and place on a bain-marie or pot of simmering water until melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Whisk egg yolks with a pinch of salt until frothy. When the chocolate-butter mixture is still slightly warm, gradually fold into the yolk mixture. Be careful not to overheat the yolks or seize the chocolate; to avoid these scenarios, the chocolate and yolks should be at roughly the same temperature.
Place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl together with the cream of tartar. Slowly whip until the beginning of the soft peak stage. Gradually add the sugar and increase the speed to the highest level, whipping until stiff peaks are formed.
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture gently and until fully blended.
Remove the ramekins from the freezer. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins. Level the surface of each ramekin using a palette knife to allow for a straight rise. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.
Bake at 200C (390F) for 10-15 minutes or until the soufflés are high or “puffed up” but still soft inside. Touch it lightly and if it resists a little and does not jiggle, it is done.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Use an oven mitt to place the ramekins on serving plates, dust with confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder, and serve immediately. The soufflés will start to deflate and then collapse very soon after being taken out of the oven. With soufflés, you have a small window of time to enjoy them!