Chocolate Souffle (First Try)

So I tried making Chocolate souffles for the first time. Souffles are notorious for being temperamental, and so with my parents out of town I thought it would be the right time to challenge myself. Never mind that it was past 10 pm at night. I resolved to do it and try to do it right.

I followed a basic recipe off of Food Network, cut it in half, and had to make a few adjustments. I thought I had bittersweet chocolate chips in my pantry, but I couldn’t find them anywhere! Not to be deterred, I rummaged around in my fridge until I came across a blob of some chocolate product that I had made for who-knows-what-purpose who-knows-how-long ago. Fingers crossed that it was just leftover melted chocolate, I took a small nibble and groaned. It had a rather crumbly texture reminiscent of toffee, so I guessed that there was some butter and whatnot mixed in too. Whatever, soldier on! I threw it into the double boiler with some more butter and hoped for the best. I also added a good dash of cocoa powder to enhance the chocolate flavor, since again it seemed like the “chocolate” was diluted with something. It didn’t really melt properly, kinda crumbled instead but whatever, it kind of resembled melted chocolate in appearance, smell, and taste.

Everything was going well, until I realized while whipping the egg whites that the little glass ramekin I had carefully buttered and coated with sugar was way too small. I frantically grabbed a larger one and buttered/sugared it, while trying to monitor the egg whites to make sure they didn’t get overbeat. I got it all done barely in time.

Watching the souffle rise in the oven was nerve wracking. At first I thought it wasn’t rising enough, and I feel like I should have ran a knife around the edge before putting it in so it could rise more easily. Then I realized that it started to look like a mushroom head with the way it was expanding/rising. The souffle started cracking, and I watched helplessly as one, then two big chunks broke off of the mushroom head and landed on the oven rack/floor. Uh oh, not only was my beautiful souffle now butt ugly, but I had more of a mess to clean up too. Sheesh.

The timer dinged, I put my over mitts on, and pulled my souffle out of the oven. As soon as I touched it, my spirits rose. It jiggled but held its shape with a nice crust on top. See for yourself:

My souffle with the two missing pieces :(.

The better looking side of the souffle, along with an official MasterChef napkin :). See what I mean about the mushroom/muffin looking appearance?

After attacking it with a spoon to expose its inside. It tasted phenomenal though! A crisp top, a nicely set layer surrounding a warm, creamy, and gooey center. I ALMOST finished the whole thing by myself…

Things to improve on:

  • Use actual chocolate next time.
  • Whip the egg whites a little bit less. You can’t really tell in this picture, but there were little clumps of meringue that I just couldn’t incorporate into the rest of the mixture since the foam was TOO stiff. I stopped trying to break the clumps up because it was deflating my mixture too much.
  • Use smaller ramekins/run my knife around the edge before making next time. Both should help with the mushrooming and hopefully prevent my souffle from losing any pieces next time.

It’s okay though, I think I did a decent job on my first ever homemade souffle. Next time, it will be even better!

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About Michael Chen

A contestant on season 3 of FOX's MasterChef! Tune in on June 4 and 5 at 9/8c to watch me compete in the top 100 home cooks in America!
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7 Responses to Chocolate Souffle (First Try)

  1. Irene lee says:

    Michael.
    We love your website and the way you are growing as a chef! I am sure you will realize your dream og owning your restaurant one day. Good luck and God bless! Will go out to Barley Swine and try their food. We belive in the farm to table philosophy and support local farmers.

    Ed & Irene

  2. Withergarde says:

    It reminds me of my first time making chocolate souffle too =)) I chose a large tin like yours (I was planning to do it for my family) to bake it in and filled it right up to the brim. Well, the top broke and my oven was an entire mess, especially considering I even added an extra egg white to make it even fluffier. I was too embarassed to serve it to my family and devoured it overnight ! What I changed was not to fill the batter right to the brim, but rather 3/4 of it, and it will rise just to the perfect height. However, it’s still much safer to do little individual souffles in smaller ramekins, as they won’t be as easy to break as big ones. But aren’t the big ones simply much more grandiose ?
    You are truly talented and inspiring and I am looking forward to see more of you soon !

    From Hanoi with love :)

  3. phill says:

    I learned to make and use a collar when making a souffle. It allows for the souffle to rise higher without the mushroom top. I learned to follow a recipe from Julia Child and have never varied from it. I am still in the process of typing The Art of French Cooking and the Cordon Bleu cookbooks into Master Cook computer program. I can scale all recipes up or down and have consistant results. Try it.

  4. Becky says:

    Those napkins!!! Love them… darn it.. I never made it home with any

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