Saturday, 23 August 2014

Recipe makeover: chocolate soufflés

I love my desserts. And chocolate is the best kind. But I'd never made a soufflé before. My knowledge of them didn't extend far past them being French, puffy and hard to make (and to be honest, I got most of that from one of my favourite childhood shows, Madeleine). But they're actually not as difficult as I thought they'd be! As usual, I scoured my cookbooks and the internet for recipes and took the best elements of each to make my version. It's a lot healthier than standard versions that can use a lot of actual chocolate, butter and sugar. But no need to panic because there's plenty of cocoa in there to give you a real chocolatey hit (without the extra kilojoules or calories)! So without further adieu…

Individual chocolate soufflés

2 large egg whites
3 Tbsp pure cocoa powder
5 Tbsp castor sugar, plus extra for dusting ramekins
1 Tbsp plain flour
1/2 Tbsp cornflour
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
6 Tbsp skim milk

  1. Brush 4 ramekins lightly with reduced fat table spread or oil then dust lightly with castor sugar (you'll only need about 1 tsp sugar per ramekin and spread it by rolling the ramekin around in your hand so the sugar coats all surfaces). I used 1-cup capacity ramekins, but for the classic puffing-up-over-the-top look, try 3/4-cup capacity ramekins.
  2. Whisk cocoa powder, plain flour, 4 Tbsp of the castor sugar and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. In a small bowl or cup, make a paste with the cornflour and a couple of teaspoons of water and slowly add to the saucepan, stirring constantly until thickened (another few minutes).
  3. Remove cocoa mixture from heat and pour into a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or until you are ready to cook the soufflés (this part can be done up to a day in advance).
  4. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle over remaining 1 Tbsp castor sugar and beat until thick and glossy. Set aside.
  5. With the same electric beaters, beat the chilled cocoa mixture for 1 minute or until smooth (as it may go quite firm in the fridge and needs to be loosened up again).
  6. Gently fold egg whites into cocoa mixture, a quarter at a time, until no streaks of white remain (while still keeping as much air as possible in the mixture).
  7. Divide mixture among ramekins, smooth tops and run a knife around the edges of the ramekin to loosen the sugar from the sides ensuring an even rise.
  8. Bake for ~12 minutes at 180°C or until puffed and just hard on top (the centres should still be quite light and gooey).
Serves 4.

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