Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 8th April 2011
Do you ever wonder what the word “Soufflé” means? The literal definition is, “To blow up”. Hmm, that sounds like an accurate description of some of my cooking projects. James Beard said, “The only thing that will make a soufflé fall is if it knows you are afraid of it.” So why do most people fear making a soufflé?
There are many types of soufflés, sweet (my favourite, of course!), savoury and frozen (hoping to make soon). The structure of a soufflé is quite delicate. The perfect soufflé will be light and fluffy in texture with a creamy centre (not runny).
I remember feeling full of this “fear” before making my first soufflé. And I think Mr. Beard is right – that first soufflé knew it! But today I’m armed with a few good tips for making soufflé, and do you know what? With these tips in hand, making a soufflé is actually a simple process. Simple you may ask? Continue on, dear reader, and you’ll see for yourself.
Begin your soufflé with a flavoured base and then “lighten” the base with beaten eggs whites. This particular recipe for Nutella Soufflé is extremely easy. The flavour base is made up of very few ingredients, egg yolks, melted Nutella, Frangelico, vanilla and a pinch of salt.
These are the tips I’ve learned for making a good soufflé:
- Dish it up! Use the proper baking dish, round with straight sides (I strayed from this tip this time and as you can see in the photos I didn’t achieve that straight-sided rise).
- Greasing the skids. Take a few moments to properly grease the baking dishes. This is done using a pastry brush and brushing with even upward strokes. And then coating with sugar or grated chocolate for a sweet soufflé or cheese, breadcrumbs or cornmeal for a savoury soufflé.
- Preparation is key. Prepare all your ingredients prior to making the soufflé (mise en place) and use precise measurements.
- Bring on the heat! Preheating your oven is very important; to rise properly the soufflé needs a very hot oven.
- Just beat it. Do not over beat the egg whites because it will be difficult to incorporate into the flavoured base and when baked you will have bits of cooked egg in the centres. Also very important once the egg whites are beaten they begin to deflate so you must move quickly but remember gently fold (you don’t want to lose the volume).
- White ties and top hats. To create a “top-hat” effect, run your thumb along the rim of each baking dish, slightly inside the mixture (this will help it rise evenly).
- Best for last! The most important tip, “a soufflé waits for no one” (not even photos!), serve immediately!
Soufflè di Nutella is quite rich and in hindsight I wish I would have baked in 4-ounce dishes. It didn’t really matter this time because Matt (my son) and his friends had these luscious chocolate desserts devoured in no time.
So conquer your fears and tame that soufflé explosion. Keep my tips handy and show off at your next dinner party – imagine the looks of admiration you’ll get from your dinner quests when you serve this rich, luscious, and elegant dessert.
Soufflè di Nutella – Nutella Soufflé
Makes 4 X 6-ounce servings or 6 X 4-ounce servings
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 43 g (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, to grease
- Finely grated chocolate, for dusting
- 257 g (¾ cup + 1½ tablespoons or 9 ounces) Nutella
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), optional
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Separate cold eggs, placing egg yolks in large bowl and egg whites in bowl of electric stand mixer, cover bowls with plastic wrap and set-aside allowing eggs to come to room temperature, 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 190° C (375° F). Using a small pastry brush, grease (using even upward strokes) each ramekin well with softened butter (this will help soufflè rise). Chill ramekins for 5 minutes. Apply a second coat of softened butter as before (to ensure the soufflè doesn’t stick to the ramekin). Dust each ramekin liberally with grated chocolate; roll and tilt ramekin to ensure ramekin is evenly coated. Remove any excess chocolate.
- In large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of just simmering water heat nutella over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and Nutella is melted. Remove from heat, set-aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile in bowl of electric stand mixer fitted with whip attachment whisk eggs and salt at medium speed, 1 minute. Increase mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form (to give volume to the souffles), about 3 minutes.
- In a large bowl, using a large balloon whisk, whisk egg yolks and melted Nutella until well combined.
- Whisk in Frangelico and vanilla.
- Stir 2 tablespoons egg whites into chocolate mixture (to loosen mixture). Using a large spatula carefully fold in one-third remaining egg whites. Fold in another third (gently fold to prevent loss of volume); fold in remaining egg whites.
- Spoon mixture into ramekins, filling three-quarters full. Press small spoon into mixture to fill any gaps. Spoon mixture into ramekins, filling right to the top. Bang each ramekin on countertop to fill sides of dish.
- Working with one ramekin at-a-time; with one hand hold the ramekin over the bowl, with the other hand take a large palette knife and pull it across the top of the ramekin (away from you) so the mixture is flat letting the excess mixture fall into the bowl. Take a minute to wipe away any splashes off the outside of each ramekin and also on the rim (otherwise the mixture will burn on while baking).
- To prevent mixture from sticking to top of mould, and to give a straight finish, run your thumb around the rim of each soufflè, slightly inside the mixture (this will help the soufflè to rise evenly).
- Bake until soufflès rise (by about two-thirds of their original height) and tops are set but jiggle when moved, 15 to 17 minutes.
- Serve Soufflè di Nutella immediately with a dusting of grated chocolate. You may also want to serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
- Buon Appetito!
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, baked pudding, chocolate, chocolate dessert, dessert, desserts, food, food photography, food photos, hazelnut, individual dessert, individual desserts, Nutella, quick desserts, souffle
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci al Cucchiaio, Eggs, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Spoon Desserts