While I did not learn to cook until much later in life (following recipes mostly), for some reason I had an aptitude for desserts. So one day I decided to make an extremely labor intensive Chocolate souffle with crème anglaise (English cream) no less.
I used a recipe out of our Gourmet cookbook that my sister gave us (really gave my husband) and I was off to the races! I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips, melting them over simmering water. Of course, while that is all going on, you have to turn your egg whites into frothy peaks, then adding your egg yolks to the melted chocolate mixture. After your meringue peaks are stiff, you have to gently fold 1 cup into the chocolate mixture to lighten it up. Then it becomes a delicate dance to make sure you are gently folding the chocolate mixture into the meringue (never stirring, always folding)!
The souffle dishes have been pre-buttered and lightly coated with sugar and kept in the freezer until ready.
Did I mention that as I was beginning the creme anglais sauce I realized it had to be refrigerated for at least an hour!!!
Fortunately, you can assemble the souffles 30 minutes ahead of actual cooking time. Spooning the mixture into the dishes, you can let them sit at room temperature for up to 30 minutes as long as they are covered by a large metal bowl (that can’t touch the souffles).
The creme anglaise is made with 1/2 a vanilla bean, egg yolks, sugar and whole milk. You must scrape the vanilla bean seed into the milk and heat until thoroughly warmed (this while you are mixing the sugar and yolks, then pouring the hot milk and vanilla bean mixture through a strainer and finally adding it to the egg and sugar mix, of course, briskly whisking! Then you must place the bowl into an ice bath, still briskly whisking to cool and refrigerate at for 1 hour.
It’s a wonderful, decadent custard sauce, perfect for chocolate!
The souffles went in after lunch and looked beautiful (serve them quickly as they will fall after about 5 minutes). Make a hole in the top of your souffle and spoon or pour the crème anglaise in. I would have had pictures of the completely finished product, but it literally disappeared.
Try it! but make sure you have an extra pair of hands to help with poring and straining!