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
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.