Now that February has officially begun, I am starting to think about Valentine's Day (although my preschooler is focused intently on Groundhog's Day). When I graduated from college, I began reading Bon Appetit magazine almost immediately. One of my early subscriptions came with a bonus booklet entitled “Cooking for Two”. This fabulous chocolate soufflé recipe is one of my favorites from that little book; I can remember making this for my husband when we were dating in the early 90s. Although the recipe says it serves two, you can easily make four servings. We have kids now so we have to share and romantic meals for two are a bit harder to come by. The orange flavor does give it an adult twist; the kids might prefer it without the zest and liqueur.
It is easier to separate eggs when they are cold, but you should let the whites come to room temperature before whipping them. If you are looking for some tips on how to whip egg whites, Souffles Simplified by Johanna Weir. I had forgotten that copper bowls are fabulous for egg whites, but after reading her tips, I dusted off the one I purchased in Paris long, long ago and used it for the souffle.
Bon Appétit | February 1990 (with a few changes and my notes, of course)
For the souffle:
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces. I used a combination of milk and dark chocolate.
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel (about half an orange)
- Unsalted butter and sugar for soufflé dishes
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Powdered sugar, for serving
For the whipped cream (I prefer the whipped cream without the white chocolate, but it does add a nice twist if you want to try it)
- 1 ounce imported white chocolate
- 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
To make the souffle:
Heat cream to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat, add chocolate to cream and stir to melt (mixture should be smooth). Beat in yolks 1 at a time. Mix in orange liqueur and orange peel. Cool to tepid. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature. Stir over low heat until tepid before continuing. You want to warm the chocolate just enough so that you can easily fold the egg whites in)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter one 4-cup, two 1 3/4-cup soufflé or 4 6 ounce dishes; dust with sugar. Beat whites and cream of tartar in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
If using smaller dishes, place them on a cookie sheet. Bake until soufflé rises but still moves in center when touched, about 15 minutes for 6 ounce dishes, 20 minutes for 1 ¾ cups soufflés and 30 minutes for one large. I initially baked these small souffles for 12 minutes. The tops were puffed, but the center still looked wet. Three minutes later (15 minutes total cooking time), they were high and light, but still mosit inside. Dust tops with powdered sugar. Serve immediately, passing whipped cream separately.
For Whipped Cream:
Cut chocolate into small pieces. Combine cream, sugar and orange peel in medium bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Mix in Cointreau. Fold in chocolate. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)