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Friday, March 8, 2013

Piece Of Cake

Occasionally, I'll get a wild hair and take a ride on the sweet side. I'm not particularly clever or good at baking, but my clumsiness doesn't stop me.  I keep plugging away.  I was craving chocolate.  Chocolate anything.  The Nutella jar was empty and the Kit Kats were long gone, so I decided to bake a chocolate something. Because savory souffles have always been well within my comfort zone, I thought a chocolate souffle would be a piece of cake. Ba-da-bing.

Chocolate Souffle.
I used a combination of 71% Costa Rican dark chocolate and Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate (4 ounces each). After roughly chopping the chocolate into bite-sized pieces, I melted them in a bowl over simmering water until smooth.  Using a stand mixer, I beat 3 Elmwood Stock egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of warm water and 2 tablespoons of sugar until the yolks turned into pale yellow ribbons (about 4 minutes).  When the chocolate cooled down, I added the eggs yolks and set it aside.

After thoroughly cleaning the mixing bowl to rid it of any residual fat, I beat 8 room temperature egg whites on medium speed until frothy, added 1/2 cup sugar, increased the speed to high, and beat the whites until they were stiff.

I buttered a 1 1/2 quart souffle dish, dusted it with sugar, and placed it in the freezer to set.  After lightening the melted chocolate with 1/3 of the beaten egg whites, I carefully folded the remaining whites into the mix until the base was light and fluffy.I covered the unbaked chocolate souffle with plastic wrap and slid it into the refrigerator to rest.  To rest? Really?  What was I thinking?  It wasn't a grilled pork chop. Hello clumsy baker. Welcome to the dance.

Well, the little nappy time must have turned into a full fledged coma.  After baking the rested chocolate souffle for 40 minutes at 400 degrees, it came out of the oven flatter than a pancake. It didn't rise. Or puff. Or move. Zilch. Nothing. Sporting a paper-thin cake layer, the souffles dish was filled with gurgling molten chocolate. I had to laugh at myself. It was hysterical and ridiculous.

Sometimes, you have to adapt. I grabbed 2 spoons and formed the warm gooey souffle guts into chocolate quenelles. After dusting them with grated chocolate, I served the quenelles with fresh whipped cream and plump raspberries.  There were no feathery chocolate clouds or airy chocolate pillows. Nope. The quenelles were dense, intense, rich, and decadent.

A happy accident.

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