Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chocolate Espresso Soufflés with Homemade Crème Fraiche


Little pots of soft, warm chocolate are just right to end an elegant dinner. Or for that matter, a casual, simple meal of soup and salad. No need to wait for a festive party before making Chocolate Soufflés!


I have been making these little soufflés for years. Their pure, deep dark chocolate taste appeals to me, particularly the way it is intensified by the addition of unsweetened chocolate and espresso powder. I often add a bit of espresso powder to chocolate desserts as it complements the chocolate flavor beautifully without overpowering.


Recently, I made homemade crème fraiche for the first time and am shaking my head that I didn’t do this sooner. A bit of yogurt stirred into heavy cream turned it thick, rich, tangy and decadent overnight – what a smile I had in the morning! So easy and delicious, and a dollop adds just the right finishing touch to chocolate soufflé.


The soufflés can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge or freezer. When ready to bake, just pop them into the oven.  The soufflés emerge puffed and pretty from the oven and ready to serve.


Dip your spoon in and watch the little bursts of steam escape from the soufflé and the crème fraiche melt into the luscious chocolate. Savor the light, airy texture of the soufflés together with the rich cream – it is pure heaven and creates a special occasion, whether for a dinner party or weeknight supper.


Chocolate Espresso Soufflés
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 8

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
8 ounces dark chocolate (I use 85%), roughly chopped
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 eggs, separated and room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Crème fraiche for serving (recipe follows)

Butter 8 ramekins and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour. Stir to mix. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until it begins to thicken, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove pan from the heat. Add the dark and unsweetened chocolates, espresso powder, vanilla and 3 tablespoons sugar. Whisk until it is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature. You can keep the chocolate mixture in the saucepan.

Whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until glossy (do not over mix, though – no lumps). Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining whites very gently. Divide the soufflé mixture between the 8 ramekins.

At this point, you can cover the ramekins and either freeze for 2 weeks or pop in the fridge for a couple of days.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the soufflés on the rimmed baking sheet until puffed and centers begin to crack, about 17 minutes for fresh or chilled soufflés or 22 minutes for frozen.

Serve immediately with crème fraiche.

Homemade Crème Fraiche
Makes 1 cup

1 cup organic heavy cream
2 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt or buttermilk (I use yogurt)

Stir the cream and yogurt or buttermilk together in a bowl. Cover and let sit out on your kitchen counter for 12-24 hours until it reaches desired consistency. This will depend upon how warm your kitchen is – the warmer it is, the quicker it will thicken. Store it in your fridge and start dolloping. It will keep for a few weeks.

44 comments:

  1. OMG! - and you can prepare them ahead? I am so going to make these. My family would love them! And what a great tip about the creme fraiche.

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    1. Hi Beth! Yes, this is a terrific make-ahead/go-to dessert that will elicit happy sighs from your guests and family. And homemade creme fraiche? More happy sighs. :)

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  2. Those are perfect Hannah and any decadent dessert that is portion controlled is perfect in my book!

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    1. Thank you, Alyssa! I appreciate the portion control, too (they're even a cozy size to share, so bake one and grab two spoons!).

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  3. Oh wow, love these souffles. I could totally do this have been trying to stay away from a lot of flour and sugar but these are pretty low in both so I think this will be the perfect little indulgence. Perfect with the homemade creme fraiche, why didn't I ever do that?? BTW, still working on the sriracha but I can't find fresno peppers anywhere, going to whole foods in the hopes that they have some. Thanks fir another great recipe.

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    1. My pleasure, Suzanne! I decreased the sugar a bit from the original, and you're right that they are low in flour - so indulging in one isn't too bad (especially with all of the dark chocolate). And as Alyssa commented, they are portion controlled.

      Good luck with your hunt for Fresnos...maybe the produce manager can order some? Keep me posted. :)

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    2. The dark chocolate is a health food IMHO, this will be doing my body good! I am going to try one more local specialty store in my neighborhood and if they don't have the fresno's I am going to trek to whole foods, It's FREEZING cold outside and if I don't have to take a subway and walk to WF I'll be thrilled but I am bound and determined to make this, I need 2 1/2 lbs I plan on gifting to a friend who is in love with sriracha!

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    3. Stay warm, Suzanne! I hope you have success in finding them locally, and I admire your sriracha dedication. You are a thoughtful friend to be making a batch to share, too!

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  4. What a wonderful recipe! I love the idea of preparing them and freezing them ahead of time.

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    1. Thank you so much, Joanie! I'm always a fan of prepping ahead when possible, and serving a warm, elegant dessert with minimal effort is such a pleasure.

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  5. Oh yum. Paul's a chocolate fiend so these will totally need to finish off our upcoming anniversary dinner. I love the idea of topping them with crème fraîche, as well. I had no idea it was so easy to make! I always figured it was like clotted cream and required unpasteurized dairy.

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    1. I hope you enjoy the souffles, Lauren! I'm delighted you're thinking of making them. I like the tangy, not-sweet flavor of the creme fraiche with the chocolate...I tend to not sweeten my whipped cream either - I think the richness on its own is quite enough. I used organic pasteurized (but not ultra) cream for the creme fraiche and it worked well. I didn't know that about clotted cream. After our trip to Australia I wanted some and finally found it...$10 for the tiniest jar! Yikes! Perhaps I'll find it cheaper in Vancouver. Happy anniversary to you and Paul!!

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  6. wow! I am so impressed! this is a great dessert to serve to guests! I can't believe you made creme fraiche! I also can't believe how easy it is!

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    1. Thank you, Alex! I had always heard making creme fraiche was a cinch, and it truly is, so I wish I'd been making it all along. Good to save some fun discoveries for later!

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  7. Oh heavenly! I know what I'm serving for the next bookclub. I only have the taller ramekins that are maybe 4 or 5" high...would that work?

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    1. These would be marvelous for bookclub, Erina! I think your taller ramekins would still work, the souffles will just be a bit hidden since they won't reach the top. Extra room for more cream! Hope you enjoy them. :)

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  8. Those look so luscious! I am ready to try them right now, but they'll have to wait until the weekend – I'm trying not to eat dessert during the week. It will be a long wait!

    And the creme fraiche looks fabulous too! That goes on the to-try list along with the souffles! YUM!

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! I do hope you enjoy them - weekends are the perfect time to relax with a bit of chocolate. And the creme fraiche is dreamy...it's wonderful to keep on hand for egg dishes, too. :)

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  9. Chocolate Espresso Souffles... sounds fantastic! When I made Chocolate Souffles it was so hard to take pictures and I remember I was running from kitchen to the living room (where I photo shoot) like crazy! I love your colorful ramekins and your souffles look so elegant!

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    1. Thank you, Nami! I was smiling as I read your comment. I had a similar experience going from my kitchen to the dining room to take photos. Sigh...at least a deflated souffle stills tastes delicious!

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  10. Your little soufflés sound so easy and so delicious.

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    1. Thank you so much, Karen! They are indeed easy to prepare. And it's a pleasure to hear the appreciative "wows" as they emerge from the oven!

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  11. Oh my, these look gorgeous and positively decadent.

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    1. Thank you, Lynda! I'm always happy to share a little chocolate indulgence.

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  12. Reading your blog makes me so happy, Hannah. Your photos are lovely here, and there's no denying that these souffles have my mouthwatering. And the homemade creme fraiche? Love that! I will be starting a batch as soon as I replenish our yogurt supply. :)

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    1. Wow, thank you, Christie! I appreciate your thoughtful words and kindness. I do think you'll be smitten with homemade cream fraiche and will find many uses for it (it's marvelous with scrambled eggs and chives). Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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  13. Yum these look and sound absolutely delicious and I love the idea of homemade creme fraiche!

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    1. Thank you so much, Blueberry Kitchen! btw, I love the name of your blog...I'm a big blueberry fan. :)

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  14. These look so indulgent and delicious - the perfect treat! Love the idea of homemade creme fraiche too.

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    1. Thank you, Lucy! They are a decadent treat indeed, and I'm hooked on homemade creme fraiche now. I'm happy you stopped by!

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  15. Hannah,

    I made these tonight and they turned out great. But because I made them on the spur of the moment, I didn't have time to make the creme fraiche. I used whipped cream instead. It didn't have the tang, but was also good (what wouldn't be good on top of these?).

    Kent

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    1. I am delighted you made the souffles, Kent! Thank you for letting me know. And you can't ever go wrong with whipped cream in my opinion...so glad you enjoyed the souffles.

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  16. I will definitely try this recipe, but I have a question first. I've seen "Espresso Powder" in other recipes and was always curious as to what it is. Is it the ground beans that you put in a Moka pot to make espresso? I make espresso often and have this on hand, but I'm not sure if you're referring to this or something else.
    Thanks again for the great recipe.
    Kevin

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    1. Hi Kevin, the espresso powder I use is Medaglia d'Oro (found in the coffee aisle of our grocery store). It is an instant espresso meant to be mixed with hot water to drink. It is very finely ground and dissolves quickly. I've tried using freshly ground espresso beans before and found that they stayed a bit gritty and didn't blend with the chocolate well. I'm not sure what causes the Medaglia to be instant and dissolve, but I recommend seeking it (or a similar type) out to ensure a smooth mixture. I appreciate your question and am happy you stopped by. Please let me know how the souffles turn out and I hope you enjoy them!

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  17. I can't believe you were on lifehacker, that's amazing! I have made creme fraiche with buttermilk but not yogurt, good to know. These souffles look amazing, with or without.

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    1. Thank you, Sara! The Lifehacker feature was definitely a happy way to start my Monday - quite a thrill. And I just started a new batch of creme fraiche last night...lots of creme fraich love in the air! I hope all is well with you (and you're staying warm). :)

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  18. Hannah, Do you think non fat milk would ruin the souffle recipe? Also can I mix and match chocolate depending on what I have here and just cut down sugar if I am using all semi-sweetened chocolate?
    I do plan on doing it right with no changes for company... just trying to wing it this afternoon.
    Andrea Early

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    1. Hi Andrea! I haven't tried non fat milk before, but I don't think it would ruin them...they just wouldn't be as rich. Also, definitely use whatever combo of chocolate you have on hand. I've kept the sugar low because I like desserts on the less-sweet side, but semi-sweet or 72% chocolate would work well. Let me know how they turn out for you with the non fat milk. I hope you enjoy them! What nice treat for a Monday afternoon. :)

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    2. They turned out great! I can tell you that nonfat milk in the souffle did not slow down the consumption rate at my house - they were wonderful, but I will make them as directed for company. Great recipe.

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    3. Thanks so much for letting me know, Andrea! I'm delighted you all enjoyed them.

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  19. Your soufflés look so decadent, I love chocolate with espresso!

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    1. Thank you, Laura! You really can't beat chocolate and espresso - such a rich combination to indulge in!

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  20. Chocolate and espresso is practically my favorite combination! These look amazing Hannah! So gorgeous!!

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    1. Thank you so much! I will always happily say yes to chocolate and espresso together. :)

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