Laurent Bernard’s Chocolate Souffle

The friend was lucky enough to attend a recently conducted baking workshop by Laurent Bernard, the famed French chocolatier. While I’ve never eaten any of his creations yet (Sacrilege I know, considering that I love chocolate) the recipe that she brought along for our bake-off really got me excited! It’s an incredibly simple recipe, but precisely because it is so easy, quality ingredients are CRUCIAL to produce the best results.

Laurent Bernard’s Chocolate Souffle

Cook time: 20 mins
6 servings

Ingredients
• 200g finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 3 large egg yolks
• 3 tablespoons warm water
• 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
• 8 large egg whites, room temperature
• Confectioners’ sugar for garnish

Directions:

1. Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar. Put the prepared ramekins in the freezer. (This can be done a day ahead.)

2.Set an oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

3.Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

(Alternatively, melt butter in microwave and mix chocolate in until melted and smooth)

4.Combine the egg yolks and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer or large bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture. (Rinse the bowl well, if using for beating the egg whites.)

5.Remove prepared ramekins from freezer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, or large non-reactive bowl. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold a stiff but not dry peak.

6.Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the souffle mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)

7.Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

I can’t emphasize enough how important the first step is. See those mini souffles that have exploded? That happens when you don’t use a proper ramekin and when you don’t butter or sugar the insides (first step)!

The souffles rose so much and didn’t deflate quickly much to our delight. Previously I read that the buttering and sugaring of the ramekins help the souffle to ‘climb’ and now I fully understand what they mean. Plus the sugar and butter make the sides nice and crispy – everyone was scarmbling to eat them first xD

Aren’t these colored ramekins the cutest? They were bought from TOTT ( Tools of the Trade) which is this fantastic place in Sime Darby Centre (next to the BMW showroom). They are all under two bucks each, same for the bigger plain white ramekin you see above. What a steal!

Souffles are so easy to make and the results are sublime. This is enough to impress any dinner guest I’m sure!