Chocolate Souffle

Courtesy my Bong genes, I am born with a super sweet tooth. Cakes and Cookies had started becoming the staple fare at home, so the heart yearned for something else for that dose of sweetness. After our recent cruise experience, and all the lovely Souffles we had there, I gave into the desire of making some at home. Why not?! I still have that French love tucked away somewhere in my heart.Well, I had heard that making souffles was not an easy deal, but then hubby chipped in to say, that I should give it a shot. So Souffle it was, for a family dinner last weekend.  And everything tastes better with a dash of chocolate, so I thought I could not go wrong, could I?!

For the uninitiated, Souffles are light cakes which are made with Egg whites, sugar and separated egg yolks, as the main ingredients.They rise up, for the air bubbles created while whisking the egg whites into soft peaks, with some lemon juice or cream of tartar. Souffles can also be made savory. 

For a person, who is used to baking cakes, all the recipes which I came across, had no flour in them. That was something, which I was not too sure of. I had heard of flour less cakes, but making one on my own, seemed a tad risky to me. So I warned Hubby in advance that maybe we would have to entertain without dessert, if the souffle did not make it to the table. The other concern, were the Chocolate Chips. Hubby had picked up Dark Chocolate Chips, when we had to pick up semi-sweet ones. So I thought of adding some Chocolate syrup, to the molten chocolate, to make it a bit sweet and it worked wonders with the souffle. 

My warm CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE won me rave reviews at the family get together. Now I can safely say that, all the myth about the difficulty of baking souffles is surely an exaggeration. In fact, it is quite simple, and can be baked just before serving, with all the prep work having been done before hand. 


Dark Chocolate Chips: 3/4 cup
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup: 1/4 cup
Sugar: 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp plus more for coating the ramekins
Lemon Juice: 1 tsp
Egg Whites: 8(at room temperature)
Egg Yolks: 3(at room temperature)
Butter: 4 tbsp plus more for coating the ramekins(at room temperature)
Warm water: 2 tbsp
Vanilla Extract: 1 tbsp

Pre-heat the oven to 400F. 

Grease 4 ramekins ( I used 4 inch ones) with soft butter, and then coat them with sugar. Place the greased ramekins in the refrigerator. 

Temper the Chocolate chips in the microwave on High for 2 mins, stirring in between. This should melt the chocolate, if not microwave it for another 30 seconds, and stir again. Add in the butter  and the chocolate syrup and stir well. Lastly add in the vanilla extract. The molten mixture should have a silky shine to it. Let it cool. 

Meanwhile beat the egg yolks with the warm water slowly, so as to not cook the eggs. Add in the warm water gradually and keep stirring, till it has forms threads when poured with a spoon. Mix in the egg yolk mixture with the cooled chocolate mixture. 

Beat the egg whites with either lemon juice or cream of tartar, on a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer with a whisk attachment, or even with a hand whisk. After beating for around 5 minutes, add in 1/2 cup sugar and continue to beat first on Low, and then on High, once the sugar in incorporated. The egg whites should form soft peaks, and not stiff peaks, like in a  meringue. 

Mix around 1/4 the egg white mixture, into the chocolate mixture to thin it out a bit. Fold in the rest of the egg whites very gently in the mixture, following one direction, to incorporate air into the batter. This should be done very gently with a light hand, so as to not deflate the egg whites which have been whisked for so long. Pour the prepared souffle dough around 3/4 ths or 1/2 way into the prepared ramekins. The mixture at this stage can be refrigerated for up to a day. 

Bake  for around 20 minutes just before serving the souffles, as they tend to deflate after being out of the oven for long.Hence they are always served warm. 

Bake at 400F for around 18-22 minutes. Check around the 18 minute mark.If the center of the souffle is moist, with crumbs adhering to it, when pricked with a toothpick, that means the souffle is done. 

The sugar which coats the ramekins, forms a nice crusty exterior on the souffle, while the center remains warm and moist. 

I was a bit wary of how they would turn out, hence I filled in my ramekins only 1/2 with the mixture, but feel free to fill up to 3/4th of them. 

Serve the souffles in the ramekins itself, by placing the ramekins on individual plates, as they are quite hot when removed from the oven. 

Bon Appetit. 


GALATOIRES, NEW ORLEANS: In love with Foie Gras and everything French

I have always had a weakness for everything French. French Men. French Films. French Food. Champagne. French Cafes.French Kiss.The list is quite a  long one.Hence spent laborious hours in learning to speak the language,during my student years in Kolkata. The obsession still does carry on. My teenage dream of getting a French lover, or better still marrying a Frenchman did not quite fall into place, so nowadays I carry on my French obsession with French Food. The soul gets happy and happy whenever I seek a French culinary connection. Not to forget French Films always find a place in the Instant Queue of Netflix at home.

A trip to France and just France is on my wish list for so long, but somehow that just does not seem to fall in place.We do cross the Atlantic and go further on to India, but have not yet managed to stop midway in Paris.Did I mention my dream City! So we decided to get a local French flavour: headed to New Orleans in Louisiana. The target: FRENCH QUARTERS. Hubby had been to the city for quite a few times, but that was for a different reason. His tastes ran in Mardi Gras. Too obvious, given his gender. But my target was totally different. To explore the lanes and by lanes of the French Quarters, soak in as much French connection I could, and stuff myself with as much French food possible.

It was a tough choice, deciding on where to dine for our anniversary, as almost every restaurant in the French Quarter claimed to serve authentic French food. We decided on GALATOIRE'S. It had been under the same family ownership for over a hundred years, serving French cuisine. Jean Galatoire founded the restaurant  in 1905, at the French Quarters of  New Orleans, using recipes he had brought with him from the south of France. We could not go wrong with  something like this. We read about Celebrities lining up outside these doors to get a place. Moreover the restaurant had a formal dress code enforced, so we thought, why not. We do not get a chance to dress up formally every day in Kansas City, do we.

But it turned out to be quite an old school French joint. For the first time in my life, I was refused a drink,as it was not considered a lady's drink. The drink : SAZERAC.Wikipedia defines Sazerac as a New Orleans variation of the original Cognac or whiskey based cocktail, named after the 'Sazerac de Forge et Fils,' brand of Cognac which was its original prime ingredient. The cocktail is a combination of rye whiskey, cognac. absinthe and Peychaud's Bitters.

 So I settled in for a safer second choice: LEMON DROP. A vodka based cocktail, which was actually refreshing. But I was a bit glum at having been refused something I wanted. Had tasted Sazerac, just that very afternoon, and wanted to repeat the slight buzz.

Foie Gras on the menu took away the initial disappointment of being denied a drink. I had been harboring a desire of tasting foie gras, and finally I had it right in front of me. FOIE GRAS and TURTLE SOUP came to our table as appetizers. We let the soup get a tad cold, as we could not let the foie gras wait any longer on our table.The juicy fat goose liver was served on croutons,with a sprinkling of chives, a cranberry gastrique, and an apricot compote. The fat goose liver,just melted, as it touched my tongue. It was not wrong to say, it was heavenly.Wonder how could people ban something so heavenly in so many places.

Our souls were satisfied just by savouring the appetizers, but we still ordered for the main course. Hubby ordered for SHRIMP CLEMENCEAU. A house speciality, which did not disappoint his shrimp loving soul.  Shrimps, cubed potatoes, green peas, mushrooms, parsley in a butter-garlic sauce, touched just the right taste buds.

I opted for CRAB MEAT YVONNE, yet another house specialty. Decadent lump crab meat, sauteed in clarified butter with artichokes and mushrooms, with salt and pepper and a touch of celery. If I might add in my own 5 cents to it, this dish was even more appealing than the Shrimp Clemenceau.

We decided to skip dessert, as we were over stuffed. My French taste buds were on an all time high. A memorable dinner with a very old world charm.