I'm obsessed with souffle's. It's one of the few things that I am truly addicted to and almost every week I indulge my addiction by baking a fluffy, moist and delicious souffle. The only problem is that while a fluffy souffle is a sight to behold (and eat), I prefer the kind with a molten center, such as the souffle served at Etats Unis on the Upper East Side.
It was at Etats Unis that my whole souffle obsession really took hold. I've been gluten free for almost 3 years now and by this point I'm desensitized to most gluten containing desserts. I don't even bother looking at restaurant dessert menu's because they rarely have something I can eat. After enjoying dinner at Etats Unis one night the waiter asked us if we wanted dessert. I said no and explained my allergy at which point he offered the souffle. I raised an eyebrow and asked him to check to see if the souffle was truly gluten free, he did and it was. They brought out the souffle and it was everything a chocolate lover could ever wish for. The chocolate was dark and decadent and the center was completely molten and exquisite. I loved every spoonful of that souffle and since then I have been trying to recreate it in my kitchen.
My first attempt at making souffle was successful, but exhausting. I only had a hand mixer at the time and it was torturous holding it up while waiting for my egg whites to achieve the soft and then stiff peaks needed to achieve the perfect souffle. We have since acquired a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, which is a must if you are into baking. They really are quite useful and amazing appliances. Anyway, the new mixer has opened up a world of baking for me and has allowed me to indulge my souffle obsession at my whim. I found a recipe on Epicurious, which is actually quite good, but didn't yield the molten center I was so desperately craving.
I've bought frozen souffles from Whole Foods which are quite good and when undercooked they have that molten chocolaty center. I started thinking, what if I froze my souffles and then heated them up the next day? The ice crystals formed in the souffle would keep the center cooler while it's in the oven and thus should give me that liquidy center...and guess what? It worked! Either way, the recipe below is a good place to start if you've never made a souffle before or you want to find a good souffle recipe. It's really quite easy to prepare and as you can see in the picture, it makes a very fluffy souffle!
1/3 cup sugar plus additional for sprinkling
5 oz bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
6 large egg whites
Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream
Special equipment: a 5 1/2- to 6-cup glass or ceramic soufflé dish
Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter soufflé dish and sprinkle with sugar, knocking out excess.
Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and stir in yolks (mixture will stiffen).
Beat whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add 1/3 cup sugar, a little at a time, continuing to beat at medium speed, then beat at high speed until whites just hold stiff peaks. Stir about 1 cup whites into chocolate mixture to lighten, then add mixture to remaining whites, folding gently but thoroughly.
Spoon into soufflé dish and run the end of your thumb around inside edge of soufflé dish (this will help soufflé rise evenly). Bake in middle of oven until puffed and crusted on top but still jiggly in center, 24 to 26 minutes (*mb: I usually bake them for 20 minutes). Serve immediately.
*mB note: If you want a molten center, freeze your souffle's in ramekins (covered with plastic wrap) for 1 day and then bake them in oven for 18-20 minutes.
Cooks' note: • Soufflé can be assembled up to 30 minutes before baking. Keep, covered with an inverted large bowl (do not let bowl touch soufflé), at room temperature.