Happy Valentine’s Day!

happy VD DM



Here at DearMartini, the chocolate soufflé is a recipe that is near and dear to our hearts.

I mean, who DOESN’T love a chocolate soufflé?  So sweet and warm… so rich and soft… so decadent yet light…and SO EASY TO MAKE!  

When we ask around, the general consensus is that soufflé-making is difficult and should be as feared as waking a sleeping dragon.  The truth is, it’s easy.  You only need to arm yourself with a few techniques and understand the basic principles of soufflé-making.

The chocolate soufflé also holds a special significance in DearMartini history.  It was the first thing Chef Mia ever asked Chef Terri to make when Terri was trying out for an intern position at Draeger’s Cooking School  (oh so many years ago…).

It was also the recipe that served as inspiration for the DearMartini library of bite-sized videos.  Check out this little video we made a while back — when we thought this might be a good idea for an iPhone app.  How quickly things change.

As a dessert for Valentine’s Day, it’s perfect; and almost fool-proof.  Want proof?  Watch this video.  Tom didn’t know what he was doing, but he followed the recipe instructions and they came out beautifully!  We can’t guarantee you’ll have Chef Terri by your side, but if you need some extra help, hit the helpful links to watch a short video.  To guide you, we’ve created this video portfolio which holds all of the how-to videos in one place for you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Long Live the Chocolate Soufflé!

Chocolate Souffle

Makes twelve 4-ounce individual soufflés

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus an additional tablespoon for greasing ramekins
9 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, separated
½ cup sugar, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for dusting ramekins
pinch of salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Prepare the ramekins by generously butter soufflé dish and sprinkle with sugar, knocking out excess.

Melt butter and chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage (when it is pale and thick and ribbons, when lifting the whisk, the mixture will fall back into the bowl, leaving a trail before sinking in).   Stir in the chocolate mixture.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl until they just hold stiff peaks. Stir about 1 cup whites into chocolate mixture to lighten, then add mixture to remaining whites, folding gently but thoroughly.

Spoon into a ramekin until it comes over the top and use a straight-edged spatula to level off.  Run your thumb around inside edge of the ramekin (this will help soufflé rise evenly and create that elegant “Top Hat“).

Bake in middle of oven until puffed and crusted on top but still jiggly in center, 14 to 16 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Chef Mia’s Souffle Basics:

1)  Every soufflé is made from two basic components:

  • Egg yolk base – provides the flavor
  • Whipped egg whites – whites provide the “lift”

2)  Whether you are making a sweet or savory soufflé the basic sequence is as follows:

  • Bring all ingredients to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven.
  • Butter a straight-sided soufflé dish or individual ramekins.  Remember, now is the time to be meticulous, make sure bottom and sides of dish are completely covered with a thin layer of butter. 
  • Sprinkle dish with sugar, breadcrumbs, cheese, or flour depending on your recipe.
  • Make egg yolk base.  Be sure to beat to the ribbon stage.
  • Beat room-temperature egg whites to stiff peaks.  Perfectly whipped stiff peak whites are firm, shiny, and moist, not crystalline.  Copper bowls work the best as the albumen reacts to copper and gives the fluffiest whites, but copper is not requisite and a clean stainless steel bowl works well.
  • Lighten the base with about a half-cup of fluffy whites.  Then fold in the remaining whites in two or three additions.
  • Cook the soufflé low in the oven.
  • Serve soufflé as soon as possible between removing the soufflés from the oven and their consumption.  Soufflés will begin to sink almost immediately once  removed from the oven.

Remember, kings wait for soufflés; soufflés do not wait for  kings!

And be fearless and cook with confidence . . . “They fall if they know you are afraid of them”,  James Beard