Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Best Soufflés Ever

Yeah, I said it. And if you try these soufflés, you will fully agree. This recipe was originally developed by Sarah Tenaglia, one of the geniuses in the Test Kitchen at Bon Appétit I had the great good fortune to work with and learn from. I've lightly modified this recipe for my own purposes, but if it works for you it's all because of Sarah's great wit and skill. I served these as the sexy finale for a very fancy dinner party I catered and everybody went berzerk. They thought I was a goddess.

And let me add, I'm not much of a baker. I'd only made soufflés once before with brownie-like results. This recipe is so foolproof even I was wildly successful; I like these better than most restaurant versions. If you were afraid to give soufflés a whirl, today is your day. And do it now, while you can still get your hands on blood oranges.

Remember: if you're worried they won't puff, use slightly smaller ramekins. The batter's got to go somewhere, and in a smaller dish there's only up!

Blood Orange and Dark Chocolate Soufflés
serves 6

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated blood orange peel
10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt (measure it out, this is baking)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons blood orange juice (from the one you zested earlier)

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Place six 3/4-cup soufflé dishes on baking sheet. Mash sugar and blood orange peel in small bowl. Stir chopped chocolate in medium bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted. Remove from over water; whisk in egg yolks, 3 tablespoons blood orange sugar and salt (mixture will become thick). Beat egg whites in large bowl to soft peaks; add 3 tablespoons blood orange sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Whisk 1/3 of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten; fold in remaining whites in 2 additions. Don't over-fold (something I tend to do). Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon mixture equally into dishes. Bake until softly set and puffed, about 14 minutes.
Meanwhile, whip cream, 4 tablespoons blood orange sugar and juice to firm peaks in medium bowl.
Top warm soufflés with cream, then sprinkle with blood orange sugar. Serve to lusty applause.

The textures are amazing: the supple, warm near-cakiness of the soufflés with the softness of the (barely pink) whipped cream and roughness of the damp blood-orange sugar-- it's some of the best foodsex around.
I need to get out more.

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