Cafe Jacqueline is this fantastic restaurant near our apartment that only serves soufflés. Literally the only thing on the menu are soufflés. Amazing.
This is an old school gem of a restaurant. There are no frills at this place, only a couple of tables, and an old women in the back (presumably Jacqueline) whipping those egg whites for the soufflés. You have to walk by her to get to the restroom and there she is whipping and whipping - by hand no less.
Luke and I went a couple years ago for our anniversary. Talk about decadent. We had lobster soufflé and then finished it off with a chocolate soufflé with a grand mariner topper. I think I am still full from the meal.
In the mist of all this soufflé eating I think I created a soufflé loving monster. Luke's favorite dessert is now soufflé. (best kind of monster in my opinion) So I make soufflés for any and all special occasions for him.
Since we love them in our house, thought I would de-bunk the myth that soufflés are hard.
Myth #1: You need fancy kitchen equipment to make soufflés
There are basically 4 ingredients in chocolate soufflés: eggs, sugar, chocolate and cream. The rest is just extra. If you have an oven and these 4 main ingredients, you can make a soufflé. I know what you are thinking, I don't have one of those fancy electric mixers - doesn't matter. Whipping egg whites by hand is not too bad - just think of the calories that you are burning so you can justify eating the whole soufflé. Myth #2: My souffle will fall in the oven
Everyone is always so scared that their soufflé is going to fall before it gets out of the oven. If you whip your eggs whites, which adds air to the egg whites, this is scientifically not possible. I won't get all nerdy on you, but trust me on this. The soufflé will eventually fall after you pull it out of the oven but that is part of the reason to make it, for the drama.
Myth #3: Soufflés cannot be made ahead of time
Another myth is that you have to make you soufflé "to order." Again not true. If you are having people over for dinner, go ahead and make the soufflé and store it in the fridge for a couple of hours and then throw it in the oven when you are ready. It may not rise quite as high as just whipped egg whites, but who wants to whip egg whites while their friends are watching?(that is not a glamorous task). I also know people who freeze their soufflé a couple days before and then throw it in the oven when they are ready to eat it.
Here is my no-fail recipe for Chocolate Souffles. I add rum to the base (because I like a good boozy soufflé) but if that is not your thing, get rid of it. Or change it up - I bet Baileys would be good instead. The only thing that really matters is the type of chocolate you use. Please resist the urge to use milk chocolate - use dark chocolate or bittersweet. I won't bore you with the details on why, but basically the milk in milk chocolate will add more liquid to your soufflés and cause it to be runny. Other than that play away. And if you are ever in San Francisco make sure to check out Cafe Jacqueline - you might just find Luke and I there knee deep in soufflés.
Adapted from Bon Appétit | September 2002
- 10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 large eggs, separated
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- Powdered sugar
Combine first 7 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; cool to lukewarm. (Chocolate base can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Stir over low heat just until lukewarm before continuing.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter eight 3/4-cup ramekins or one large soufflé dish and coat insides with sugar. Whisk egg yolks into lukewarm chocolate base. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl until soft peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate base in 3 additions. Divide soufflé mixture among prepared ramekins; place on baking sheet. Bake soufflés until puffed but still moist in center, about 15 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over soufflés and serve immediately.