Thursday, September 4, 2008

chocolate souffle recipe

I love to cook. I don't know a lot of people these days who engage in this activity, at least not to the extent that our moms did. Drive by any popular restaurants on any weeknight and you'll see plenty of cars in the parking lot. And the weekends? Well, forget it. Reservations are a must. I know we all lead busy lives and cooking meals has been reduced to yet another annoyance we must endure, but occasionally a nice warm meal prepared by your own hands in the comfort of your own home just can't be beat. I've reached a level of proficiency where I can usually equal (and a lot of times exceed) a meal at a good restaurant. As a result, I have my favorite recipes. The really good ones are those that aren't that difficult, but are very impressive due to their amazingly high "delicious" factor. I'd classify this as possessing a high effort/impress ratio (henceforth, "e/i factor"). Following is one that I'd like to share with you:


6 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/2 C. sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. Cornstarch
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
fresh raspberries (optional - no, make that mandatory)

Serves 4

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan and set aside.
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a mixing bowl and set aside.
In a third bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks together. Add the melted butter-chocolate mixture to the sugar mixture and combine thoroughly with a wire whisk. Stir in the eggs and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate.

Lightly butter 4 small ramekins (about 4 1/2 inches in diameter). Divide batter equally into ramekins.

Bake for approximately 18 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 degrees.

The chef suggests making this in advance and refrigerating overnight so that the batter (which is extremely sticky) is easier to work with. I have ignored this if I am pressed for time and find it is sticky, but not impossible. Also, it's important to NOT overcook. It will look bad and taste worse. I have tried to stick to the 18-minute cooking time and sometimes, the center is not thoroughly cooked (although my family prefers the center to be slightly underdone - sort of like a molten chocolate cake dish). You can use a wooden toothpick to assess the center. Again, I would advise you not wait until it comes out clean, but you will be able to tell if it is still too liquid.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and raspberries on top. Enjoy!

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