Julia Child’s Chocolate Soufflé

Since my blog is called G’day Soufflé, I thought it was about time that I actually posted a soufflé recipe. And what better chef to consult for my recipe than the master Julia Child?

In her show The French Chef, Julia explains that a soufflé traditionally uses a thick white sauce combined with flavorings such as cheese, fish or chocolate. For my recipe, I’ve selected a chocolate soufflé, since I love the combination of chocolate with the airy quality of the soufflé. Julia was so excited about cooking a soufflé that she threw her arms up into the air, anticipating the “hundreds of air bubbles” that puff up the soufflé into a wondrous mass.

Julia also cautions us about the basics of making a soufflé: make sure the egg whites are at room temperature before you whip them so they ‘mount’ into nice high peaks. Also, although she starts out by whipping the egg whites by hand in a traditional French copper bowl, she quickly becomes exhausted and switches to the more ergonomic method of using electric beaters. I’m with you on that one, Julia!

Julia becomes so exhausted hand-beating the egg whites in the copper bowl that she slumps over and decides to switch to the electric beaters

The Method

For her Chocolate Soufflé (Soufflé au Chocolat), Julia starts by creating an aluminum ‘collar’ around the straight-sided mold to help contain the soufflé as it rises over the rim. (Be sure and tape or pin the foil securely since my ‘collar’ fell off during the cooking). If you are using smaller ramekins, then this step is not necessary.

Souffle (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

You then make a creamy Béchamel sauce, whip in the egg yolks and then the melted chocolate mixture.

Next comes the egg whites which should be whipped into a velvety sheen and according to Julia, should increase seven-fold in volume.

The egg whites are then gently folded into the chocolate mixture and then baked in the oven. Watch in amazement as your soufflé puffs up over the top! If you don’t want to use a larger soufflé dish, you could also use smaller ramekins.

Chocolate Soufflé
Serves 6
A decadent chocolate dessert with a light touch: Julia Child's 'Soufflé au Chocolat'
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 2-quart straight-sided souffle’ dish or 5-6 smaller ramekins
  2. ½ Tbsp softened butter
  3. 7 ounces of semi-sweet or sweet chocolate
  4. 1/3 cup strong liquid coffee
  5. 3 Tbsp butter
  6. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 1 cup milk
  8. 4 egg yolks
  9. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  10. 6 egg whites (3/4 cup)
  11. Pinch salt
  12. ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  13. ½ cup sugar
  14. Powdered sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F ( 220 C). Butter the inside of the soufflé dish or 5-6 smaller ramekins. If using the larger soufflé dish, surround the outside of the dish with a double layer of aluminium foil or parchment paper so that a 3-inch collar stands above the rim of the dish. (If using smaller ramekins, this step is not necessary).
  2. Melt the coffee and chocolate together in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water; set aside. In a separate saucepan, combine the flour and butter; whisk over medium heat until the mixture becomes a paste. Gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture thickens. Let cool for several minutes.
  3. One by one, whisk the egg yolks into the hot sauce, then add the melted chocolate sauce, and finally the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar together until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form and the whites become shiny.
  4. Gradually fold the chocolate mixture into the egg white mixture, folding from the outside of the bowl into the center. Pour the mixture into the prepared molds, filling to just below the rim. Place the mold on the bottom part of the oven and lower the temperature to 375 F (190 C). Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the soufflé has risen and a skewer placed into the center comes out clean. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. If using a fan-forced oven, reduce the recommended temperature by 20 degrees (i.e. 425 F should be lowered to 405 F, etc).
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Strawberry Chocolate Box

Chocolate Box

I haven’t posted anything for awhile since I have been busy finishing up my French paper on Émile Zola’s book The Belly of Paris (Le Ventre de Paris). The story is set in mid-19th century Paris in the old market of Les Halles, the giant iron structure that housed meat, poultry, fish, flowers and charcuterie for sale. In his book, Zola uses vast descriptions of the market- whole pages to describe the vegetables, cheeses, ‘stinking fish,’ and freshly-killed calves ‘swaddled in blankets with just the four bloody stumps sticking out.” If I were to die tomorrow, I feel like those images would still remain in my brain into the after-life.

Unfortunately, Les Halles* was torn down in the early 1970’s and I never got to see it. My husband got to visit there and Julia Child describes the market in her biography. Now, the old market has been replaced by a multi-level sterile shopping center, although new renovations are happening there now.

* For those of you wondering how to pronounce the words Les Halles, the ‘h’ is silent, so you would pronounce it as ‘Lay Alles’.

The old Les Halles– Paris

Les Halles

To celebrate my marathon experience of reading and writing about Zola’s book, I made (and ate) a dessert called Strawberry Chocolate Box. Melted chocolate is first formed into a square box-shape, then filled with some chocolate mousse and then dotted with cointreau-glazed strawberries and whipped cream.This dessert would have fitted in well at the old Les Halles market! It’s not too difficult to make- just getting the edges of the ‘chocolate box’ to form a straight line can take a little bit of effort.

To make this dessert, first you place two pieces of foil cross ways inside a square pan (this makes it easy to lift the dessert out of the pan at the end). Then the pan is lined with a thin layer of melted chocolate, coming to about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan.The chocolate mousse filling is then poured into the chocolate ‘box’ and placed in the fridge until set. After removing the foil, glazed strawberries and whipped cream are then added.

Adding the chocolate mousse to the chocolate-lined pan

Chocolate Box

I don’t mind getting my face smudged with this chocolate dessert!

Chocolate Box

And by the way, if you haven’t already done so, please do ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 

Strawberry Chocolate Box
Serves 4
Cointreau-glazed strawberries placed inside a chocolate 'box' filled with chocolate mousse
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Chocolate Box
  1. 5 ounces (150g) dark chocolate
  2. 2 tbsp butter
  3. 1 punnet strawberries
  4. 1 cup thickened cream (to make whipped cream)
For the strawberry glaze
  1. ¼ cup strawberry or cherry jam
  2. 2 tsps Cointreau or brandy
For the Chocolate Filling
  1. 2 ounces (60g) dark chocolate
  2. 1 tbsp Cointreau or brandy (optional)
  3. 2 eggs, separated
  4. ½ cup cream
To make the chocolate mousse filling
  1. Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl placed on top of pan of simmering water (i.e. double boiler). Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in the two egg yolks and Cointreau or brandy (optional). Beat until mixture is smooth and thick. Whip the cream lightly with a fork, then add to the chocolate mixture. Using electric beaters, whip the two egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold into the chocolate mixture. Set aside.
To make the chocolate box
  1. Place two sheets of foil in a square pan, overlapping cross ways. Bring the foil up over the top of the pan to allow easy removal of the chocolate case when set.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl placed on top of a pan of simmering water. Pour into the foil-lined pan and spread thinly along the base and sides; the chocolate should come about 1 ½ inches up the sides of the pan. Try to keep the top edges of the chocolate as straight as possible to form the box shape. Place pan in fridge for a few minutes until set.
  3. Remove from fridge and then pour the chocolate filling into the pan and spread evenly. Place back in fridge until the mixture sets. Remove from fridge and gently peel the foil from the chocolate- you should now have a square box-like shape. (Don’t worry if the edges of the box are not real straight- try to smooth down the edges by running your wet finger along the edges).
  4. In the meantime, heat the strawberry jam and Cointreau (or brandy) together on the stovetop until the mixture becomes like a syrupy glaze. Hull the strawberries and then coat them with the glaze. Whip 1 cup of cream using electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Place the whipped cream inside a piping bag.
  5. Place the strawberries inside the chocolate box and then pipe in some of the whipped cream around the sides and center of the chocolate box.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Poires Belle Hèléne

IMG_5894

I recently spent two weeks travelling through California, experiencing the hot desert of Barstow, the majestic Redwoods of Northern California and the nearby beaches that were serene but also somehow a little unsettling. I hadn’t posted anything on my blog for three weeks and I couldn’t decide what to do next. I wanted to create some food that reflected my recent California experience – somehow another spicy Mexican dish didn’t seem quite right just yet – and decided that the dessert Poires Belle Hèléne was just right for me now. No, these poached pears covered in chocolate sauce cannot match the majesty of the California Redwoods, but  somehow the inner serenity and simplicity of this dish connected with my recent travels.

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 Poires (Pears) Belle Hèléne was developed in 1864 by the famous chef, Auguste Escoffier, as a tribute to the opera, La Belle Hèléne by Offenbach. It is a simple dish – pears poached in a sugar syrup, and topped with chocolate sauce and a side of vanilla ice cream. I used three types of pears, Red Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc pears. The Bosc pears (brownish color) hold their shape the best when cooking; the Bartlett pears are the juiciest and tend to soften more when cooked. But to be honest, after I poached them altogether in the pot, I couldn’t tell the difference when I took them out to be coated in chocolate!

IMG_5855

 Some recipes only call for water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla flavouring for the pear poaching liquid, but I added a cinnamon stick which rounded out the flavour nicely. You could also be creative and add a dash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier to the poaching liquid.

 This is a very simple recipe but your dinner guests should be very happy if you ended your meal with this delicious dessert.

IMG_5883

5.0 from 3 reviews
Poires Belle Hèléne
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 - 8
 
A simple but elegant dessert, consisting of poached pears covered in chocolate sauce and served with a side of ice cream
Ingredients
  • 6 - 8 fresh pears
  • Large pot or Dutch oven filled ¾ with water
  • 450 - 675 grams of caster sugar (2 - 3 cups)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Juice and zest from one lemon
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla flavouring (or 1 vanilla bean pod)
  • 340 grams (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 180 mls (3/4 cup) heavy cream
  • ice cream for garnish
Instructions
  1. To prepare the poaching liquid, fill a large pot or Dutch oven ¾ full with water. Add the sugar, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon stick and vanilla flavouring to the water. (The amount of sugar you use depends on how large your pot is). Bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, peel the pears using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Using a paring knife, cut a small hole on the bottom of each pear to remove a part of the core (cutting up into the core about 1 inch).
  3. Slice off a small amount of the bottom of each pear so that they will lie flat when you finally serve them on the plate.
  4. Place the pears in the poaching liquid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the top of the pot and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes- a knife should cut smoothly into the pear when done.
  5. Remove the pears from the liquid and place on a serving dish to cool.
  6. Heat the chocolate in a microwave for several minutes or over a double boiler on the stove, until melted. Add the heavy cream and stir until thoroughly combined.
  7. Spoon the chocolate sauce over each pear and serve with a scoop of ice cream on the side.

 

Profiteroles with Custard Cream and Chocolate Sauce

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I believe that if we write too many words about Profiteroles, we will ruin the experience of enjoying them. So let’s just conjure up a few words to describe them: liquid chocolate draped over a soft pouch filled with tender cream; producing images from childhood that the world was almost perfect and nothing could go wrong. Did I destroy the experience with too many words? I hope not.

Profiteroles straight out of the oven

IMG_5293Profiteroles are wonderful, however because they can be a little tricky to make (especially the choux pastry dough), I am providing step-by-step instructions. If they don’t turn out perfect the first time, don’t be discouraged- keep on trying. They will still be delicious!

(Also, please see my post Profiteroles Re-visited for more tips)!

The Recipe – with Tips!  (see printable version below)

Choux Pastry

  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • 1/3 cup (6 tbsp.) butter, cubed
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3-4 eggs

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 425 F (220 C). Combine water and butter in a saucepan and bring just to the boil.
  • Remove pan from the heat. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. In one go, add these dry ingredients to the water/butter mixture. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough and falls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Tip: It’s important to let the dough cool a little, otherwise you may ‘cook’ the eggs when you add them in the next step! To help the dough cool, I work it back and forth a little using the back of a spoon.

    Stir until the dough falls away from the sides of the pan

    Stir until the dough falls away from the sides of the pan

  • Beginning with three eggs, beat in one egg at a time, stirring in each egg until the dough is smooth and the egg is fully incorporated into the mixture. After the third egg, the dough should be elastic and fall easily away from your spoon or spatula.  If the dough is still a bit stiff, then add another 1/2 egg or another full egg until the dough reaches the right consistency; the dough should not be ‘runny’ like pancake batter, but smooth and elastic.
  • Tip: If your dough winds up being too ‘runny’, then try adding a little more flour.
After adding the eggs, the dough should be smooth and elastic- not runny.

After adding the eggs, the dough should be smooth and elastic- not runny.

  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a piping bag with a large tipped nozzle, pipe balls of dough onto the tray (spaced at least 2 inches apart), using about 2 tbsp. of dough for each ball. Pipe in concentric circles starting from the center and working outwards. Smooth down the ‘pointy tip’ of the dough ball using a wet finger.
  • Tip: don’t make the puff balls too big- about 2.5 inches in diameter is a good size. To pipe your balls, you could also fill a large Ziploc bag with the dough and pipe the balls from a small hole cut from the corner of the bag.
Pipe the dough using a piping bag with a large nozzle hole.

Pipe the dough using a piping bag with a large nozzle hole.

  • Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425 F (220 C), then lower the temperature to 375 F. (190 C.) for the remaining 10-15 minutes. The pastry balls will be done when they puff up and become golden. Each ball should feel light and airy, with a crisp exterior.
  • Tip: In order to achieve the crisp exterior of the puff balls, you need to first put them into the oven with a high temperature of f 425 F (220 C) and bake for about 10 minutes, before lowering the temperature. Otherwise, your puff balls will probably deflate quickly after they come out of the oven. However, even if they do deflate, don’t worry, they will still taste good!
The puff balls should be crisp on the outside when baked.

The puff balls should be crisp on the outside when baked.

  • Remove the tray from the oven and turn off the oven; slit a small hole in the base of each pastry ball to release any steam. Return the tray to the oven for another few minutes to dry out the inside of the puff balls.

The Custard Cream Filling

  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup heavy cream)
  • 2 tsp vanilla flavouring
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) flour

Directions

  • Warm the milk, cream and vanilla flavoring together over medium heat- do not boil.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks, then add the flour.
  • Over medium heat, gradually add small amounts of the egg/sugar mixture to the milk/cream mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens-  then place in the fridge until chilled- the custard will continue to thicken as it chills.
  • Tip: Make sure the temperature of your milk/cream mixture is not too hot as you add the egg/sugar mixture, otherwise the eggs may start to ‘curdle.’ After thickening,the custard should still be able to pour easily; if it becomes too thick, then add a bit more cream or milk.
The custard should still be able to pour easily- if too thick, add more cream or milk.

The custard should still be able to pour easily- if too thick, add more cream or milk.

  • When the custard has chilled, lift the top of each puff ball with you fingers and spoon 1-2 tsps. of custard into each ball. Alternatively, you could pipe the custard into each puff ball, however I feel it is easiest to simply ‘spoon’ it in.
Lift the top of each puff ball and fill with custard.

Lift the top of each puff ball and fill with custard.

Chocolate Sauce

  • 113 g (3/4 cup) dark semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 65 ml (1/4cup) thickened cream
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

Directions

  • Over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter. Mix in the cream and sugar and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  • To serve, place one or two cream puffs on a plate and cover with a little chocolate sauce.
  • Tip: You could also melt the chocolate by putting it in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water. This will prevent the chocolate from heating up too quickly and ‘seizing’ (that is, turning into a hard, grainy lump).

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! Also, this is my ‘most popular post’, so I’d love to hear how your profiteroles turned out- please leave a comment below!

 

4.6 from 8 reviews
Profiteroles with Custard Cream and Chocolate Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Soft pastry puffs filled with custard cream and filled with a rich chocolate sauce
Ingredients
  • For the Choux Pastry
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • ⅓ cup (6 tbsp.) butter, cubed
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour, sifted
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 - 4 large eggs
  • For the Custard Cream Filling
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla favoring
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) flour
  • For the Chocolate Sauce
  • 113 g (3/4 cup) dark baking chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 65 ml (1/4 cup) thickened cream
  • 2 tbs. sugar
Instructions
  1. For the Choux Pastry:
  2. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. (220 C.)
  3. Combine water and butter in a saucepan and bring just to the boil.
  4. Remove pan from the heat. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. In one go, add these dry ingredients to the water/butter mixture.
  5. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough and falls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Beginning with three eggs, beat in one egg at a time, stirring in each egg until the dough mixture is smooth and the egg is fully incorporated. After the third egg, the dough should be elastic and fall easily away from your spoon or spatula. If the dough is still a bit stiff, then add another ½ egg or another full egg until the dough reaches the right consistency; the dough should not be 'runny' like pancake batter but smooth and elastic.
  7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a piping bag with a large tipped nozzle, pipe balls of dough onto the tray (spaced at least 2 inches apart), using about 2 tbsp. of dough for each ball. Pipe in concentric circles starting from the center and working outwards.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425 F (220 C), then lower the temperature to 375 F. (190 C.) for the remaining 10-15 minutes. The pastry balls will be done when they puff up and become golden. Each ball should feel light and airy.
  9. Turn off oven and remove the tray from the oven; slit a small hole in the base of each pastry ball to release any steam. Return the tray to the oven for another few minutes to dry out the insides of the pastry puffs.
  10. For the Custard Cream Filling:
  11. Warm the milk, cream and vanilla flavouring together over medium heat- do not boil.
  12. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks for at least 30 seconds until the mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow in color, then add the flour.
  13. Over medium heat, gradually whisk in the egg/sugar mixture to the milk/cream mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens- if the custard is so thick that it will not pour easily, then add a little more milk or cream. Place in the fridge until chilled; the custard will continue to thicken some as it chills.
  14. To fill each puff ball with custard, lift open the top of each pastry ball and fill with 1 -2 tbsp. of custard.
  15. For the Chocolate Sauce:
  16. Over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter. Mix in the cream and sugar and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  17. To serve, place one or two pastries on a plate and cover with chocolate sauce.

Easy Chocolate Fondant

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  Welcome to my first blog and recipe! I wanted to choose something that was simple, delicious and visually appealing- so Chocolate Fondant immediately came to my mind. This dish is sometimes called ‘Molten Lava Cake’ or ‘Lava Cake’ – … Continue reading