Monday, January 31, 2011

Dark Chocolate Souffles with Cardamom Creme Anglaise

Chocolate Souffle with Cardamom Creme Anglaise

It never fails to surprise me how most of the best things are born out of what we once thought of as settling. Case in point - these gorgeous, delicious souffles. I've been home bound ever since the surgery [I'm doing great, I meet the doctor tomorrow and hopefully he lifts the 'going out' ban from me, thanks for all the sweet mails wishing me the best, they really made me feel better]. And since eating anything 'good' is still a pipe dream for me, I've been craving all sorts of cakes, brownies and stuff, you know, the forbidden fruit principle.

So one day while killing myself browsing through the blogosphere, I decided to give up on those impossible craving and instead make something that I could eat. I'd bookmarked these souffles a long time ago, and found them again while going through the 'make immediately' tag in my bookmarks. And while these would appeal to me a lot on a normal day, since I was making this as a last resort, I had no expectations out of it.

Cardamom Creme Anglaise

I'm soo glad that happened, because they really blew me away! Sometimes I tend to ruin things with crazy high expectations. The souffles very light and gorgeously flavored, but the real star of the show was the delicious creme anglaise, it made such a perfect accompaniment, I'm already thinking of other ways to use it! Maybe as a base for ice cream? Any other ideas are truly welcome.

Dark Chocolate Souffles with Cardamom Creme Anglaise
Recipe from Epicurious

For the souffles -

5 oz bittersweet chocolate - I used 60 %
1 tbsp [15 g] butter
1/4 cup [60 g] + 3 tbsp [45 g] sugar - divided use
2 tbsp [20 g] flour
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup [200 g] milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1/4 tsp coarse salt

Instructions -
  1.  Place chopped chocolate and butter in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large saucepan, whisk together 1/4 cup of the sugar, the flour and the cocoa. Set aside. Boil the milk and vanilla together, then slowly whisk into the sugar mixture. Don't add all the milk at once, the lumps formed will be near impossible to remove.
  3. Now cook this mixture over medium low heat, stirring constantly until a thick paste is formed, about 2 minutes. Here's what mine looked like. 

    DSC08500 2
  4. Now scrape the hot mixture into the bowl with the chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts. The mixture may look curdled, don't worry about it! Add in the yolks and whisk until mixture looks creamy and shiny. This is the base for the souffle, you can prepare this upto 1 day ahead and refregirate, covering with plastic wrap directly on the mixture, but bring down to room temp before using again. It's perfect make ahead for entertaining too.
  5. For the final part, butter 8 3/4 cup ramekins and dust with sugar. Whisk the whites until frothy, then add the sugar and salt, and whisk just until soft peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate base to lighten it, until well combined. Now gently fold in the remaining whites, just until combined, a few white streaks are ok. Pour into the prepared ramekins and lay them on a baking sheet. This can be prepared upto 2 hours ahead, leaving them at room temp itself.
  6. Just before you want to serve, preheat oven to 350 F [180 C]. Bake until the souffles puff up above the rim of the ramekins, and the edges look set, about 18 minutes. Serve immediately with cardamom creme anglaise.

For the creme anglaise - 

2 tbsp whole green cardamom pods, crushed [about 3]
1 cup [250 g] whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup [60 g] sugar, divided use
1/4 of a vanilla bean
4 large egg yolks

  1. Place cardamom pods along with the seeds in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until the pods brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add milk, cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Scrape in the 'caviar' of the vanilla bean, then toss in the bean too. Bring this mixture to a boil.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar and the yolks. Stirring constantly, add about 5-6 spoonfuls of the hot milk mixture, a spoonful at a time, making sure to stir well in between additions. This process is called tempering the eggs, it ensures the yolks won't curdle when you add them to the hot mixture. Now you can add the egg + milk mixture back into the saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and a finger drawn across the back of the spoon leaves a distinct path, about 2 minutes. Do not let it boil or even come close to boiling.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours. Strain into a sauce boat. This can be prepared upto 2 days ahead.
    These deflated before I could get a good picture, but you really shouldn't bother about that. It's bound to happen!
    Dark Chocolate Souffles with Cardamom Creme Anglaiseg


    1. Avanika, I'm glad to hear that you are well! It must be difficult to have to stay cooped up, but I'm sure a dessert like this made things much easier.
      This looks amazing! I ♥ cardamom.

    2. Oh I simply adore souffles (and will attempt one soon myself). Plus the cardamom sauce sounds to-die-for! What an exotic and elegant dessert.

    3. Oh my gosh! I'm just learning you had surgery, and I'm so glad you're already recovering. That sounds like a rough one. I hope you're not in too much pain, but it looks like you've found a good way to fill the time ;).

      I haven't had a souffle in sooo long, and you're making me crave them. Looks incredible.

      We used to use creme anglaise as sauces for lots of desserts. Chocolate cakes, hazelnut tortes, etc, or you can simply pour it over strawberries. Yum!

    4. Divya Vikram - Thank you!

      Valerie - Oh you have no idea! 3 more days :( It does, I've been baking a lot to cheer me up :)

      Xiaolu - It was. I usually don't bother with accompaniments and such, but I actually liked the sauce even more than the souffle!!

      Irina - Luckily there isn't too much pain, but since it's jaw surgery, a lot of food restrictions!!

      Pouring over strawberries! That's so perfect :) Going to go do that now!

    5. Yum! You could totally make that creme into ice cream, it's pretty much the same ingredients. Churn it. Sounds so good.
      I had never used, tasted or smelled cardamom before and just recently found some in a bulk spices section of a store. I smelled it and LOVE the smell. I haven't used it yet, waiting for just the right thing. Ice cream sounds so good.
      The souffles look awesome.

    6. Those look so good Avanika! They seem to have risen really well. Good job! :) And I hope u can dig into all your favorite stuff very soon!

    7. This looks gorgeous - rich and decadent.

      Thanks for the kind words for my sister and her family. It means a lot to feel so much support from everyone.

    8. OMG these look amazing! I am so in a chocolate mood!

    9. I wish you a very speedy recovery Avanika! And the chocolate and cardamom sounds like a lovely combination! :)

    10. Katrina - Yup, ice cream was my first thought too! And you're right, I love the smell of cardamom too. It's a very commonly used spice here :)

      VeggieWiz - From yesterday on, I officially can. Yayyyy :D

      oneordinaryday - Thanks so much <3

      Amanda - Ha, did you make them then?

      Lorraine - Thanks! I'm mostly recovered now!!


    Please leave your thoughts below, I'd love to hear from you :-)

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