Make Ahead Chocolate Souffles
Soufflés are one of the classics that strike terror to the hearts of many cooks. When done correctly, it will puff up or ‘rise’, giving it an elegant look and fluffy cloud like texture taste. However, it’s also quite an easy dish to mess up and you’ll end up with a deflated mush. Another thing about soufflés is that they must be served fresh out of the oven, so you must plan your soufflés before hand and time it correctly.
What if I tell you I have a way of making soufflés in advance, and then freezing them in my freezer, and only bake them whenever I want to? Imagine if you have some last minute guests coming over, or you decide to invite a hot date over to your place. You open your freezer, take out some of those prepared frozen soufflés from the freezer, pop them into a hot oven and bake for 20 mins. What a way to impress your friends or your date when you serve them a delicious chocolate soufflé! For me, I just like that I can just make a big batch, freeze them, and take one or two out for dessert whenever I feel like it!
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons caster sugar
225 grams bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
4 tablespoons (around 60grams) unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract ( I sometimes just use Galliano Vanilla)
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (substitute 1 tablespoon orange juice for the non alcoholic version but I wouldn’t recommend it – there’s no good substitute for real good quality alcohol). You can use Kahlua, Frangelico, Amaretto too if you like.
6 large egg yolks
½ cup caster sugar
8 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons icing sugar
Step 1: First prepare the ramekins. Grease the inside of the ramekins with the softened butter up to the rims, and then coat the inside of each ramekin with the sugar. Arrange ramekins on a tray and chill in your fridge.
Step 2: Melt the chocolate and butter slowly using a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan filled with just simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water in the sauce pan. Stir frequently until smooth.
Step 3: Remove from the heat, and stir in the salt, vanilla extract and Grand Marnier. Set aside.
Step 4: Using a mixer, whip the yolks and the sugar at medium speed until the mixture reaches a thick and pale yellow consistency. (For a stand mixer, it should be around 3 minutes, if you’re using a hand-held mixer, it should be around 6-8 minutes). Fold this mixture into the chocolate mixture. When I say fold – I mean using a spatula to just mix them slowly, as if you’re folding the mixture. Do not whip.
Step 5: Make sure you washed your bowls and beaters clean and wipe dry because if any fat remains, it will make it difficult for your egg whites to be properly whipped! Now whip the egg whites at medium low speed until frothy for like 30 seconds, and then add in the cream of tartar. Set the speed to medium high until soft peaks (around 1-2 minutes). Add the icing sugar and whip them on medium high speed for another 2 – 4 minutes. It’s important not to over whip. As soon as you see stiff peaks, you’re done. Whisk the last few strokes by hand, making sure to scrape any unwhipped whites from the bottom of the bowl.
Step 6: Now stir one quarter of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture first. You can whip the mixture a bit. After that, gently fold the remaining egg whites until just mixed. Be gentle here.
Step 7: Carefully spoon the mixture into your ramekins until almost to the rim, about 1 inch from the top of the ramekins. Tip: Do not put too much into the first few ramekins first, fill up every ramekin, then slowly top up and even out. You do not want to put too much on the first few ramekins, and then realize there’s not enough for the rest. This recipe should be enough for 8 ramekins of 8 ounces size (225 grams). Now, you can straight away bake these babies if you cannot wait! Simply follow step 9, but just bake for 12 to 15 minutes!
Step 8: To store them, you MUST cover each ramekin tightly with clingwrap, and then with alumimuin foil on top. This is to minimize smells from your freezer getting into your soufflés. Do not thaw or remove from fridge to defrost before baking. You’re supposed to bake them straight out of the fridge into a hot oven.
Step 9: Baking: Adjust oven rack to the lower middle position and heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 205 degrees Celsius. Make sure the oven reaches this temperature before baking your soufflés! Unwrap the ramekins, and put them on a baking sheet or pan. Bake the soufflés for around 25 minutes. (If your ramekins are smaller sized, it should be 23 minutes). This is the tricky part as different ovens have different settings and power. What I would always do is to bake a batch, and check the timings – then record them for future use. I’ve done this recipe in my friend’s house and realize it takes only 23 minutes, while it might take 27 minutes at another friend’s house. Experimenting is the key! To check for the perfect doneness, I usually take one out, and use two spoons to pull open the top of the soufflé and check inside. If the interior is loose and creamy, you got it! Dust with icing sugar to serve immediately with ice cream!
Here are some pictures for those who are unsure about different stages of whipped egg whites.
This is soft peaks stage
This is stiff peaks stage
Disclaimer: Images used are for illustration purposes and are not professional taken by me.