Class Time

I’ve done my fair share of cooking classes. From a week long boot camp at the Culinary Institute to various Groupon deals, these classes have ranged from very hands-on to very laidback. Personally, if I’m paying for a cooking class I expect to actually do the cooking and eat that food that I made, not have everything done for me by the instructor or eat something that was made earlier for the sake of time. So I was very pleased with a chocolate soufflé class at Cathcart & Reddy (formerly known as Dessert Truck).

Set on the Lower East Side, the shop was nice and small, with less than 10 people in the class (all women of course). Everyone prepared 2 soufflés – one to be cooked and eaten at the shop, and one to be taken home and baked at another time (i.e. tonight). We started by generously buttering and sugaring our ramekins to give a nice coating. Next was the beating of the egg whites, some lemon juice, and sugar. Without an electric mixer, this was quite exhausting! Luckily our instructor, lent us some muscle to speed up the process.

Look at her go!

Once the meringue (egg whites + sugar) came to a medium-stiff peak, we folded in an egg yolk and lots of melted dark chocolate. (The chocolate was melted beforehand for us over a double boiler). After carefully incorporating the chocolate (and taking several licks), into the ramekins the mixture went, for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Souffle waiting to be baked!

Out came our beautifully risen chocolate soufflés that were perfectly moist and airy in the middle with an ever-so-slightly crisp crust on the outside. Topped with some powdered sugar and vanilla creme anglaise (already prepared by the bakery), it was the perfectly indulgent dessert without being too heavy or rich. Though I was surprised by how simple the process was, I’m not sure that I’ll be making soufflés in my apartment anytime soon. Mostly because precision of ingredients and temperature is so important in soufflé making, and my lack of a scale or reliable oven would compromise this particular balance. At least I have that leftover soufflé sitting in my fridge with my name on it!

Look at that oozin’ creme anglaise!

Chocolate Souffle Recipe courtesy Cathcart & Reddy 

makes five 4 oz. ramekins

Ingredients:

approx. 4 tbsp of softened unsalted butter (for ramekins)

approx. 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (for ramekins)

250 g egg whites

120 g granulated sugar

3 g cream of tartar or lemon juice

150 g 70% dark chocolate

35 g egg yolks

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Using a brush, generously brush the interior of the ramekins with softened butter, ensuring that the entire interior is buttered. Coat the butter with sugar, knocking out any excess sugar.

2. Using a double-boiler, melt the chocolate over simmering water, stirring occasionally.

3. Place the egg whites, the cream of tartar or lemon juice and a pinch of sugar in a large bowl. Using a whisk or an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the whites and gradually add the rest of the granulated sugar. Whip the whites until you get stiff peaks. You now have a meringue.

4. Stir in about one-third of the meringue into the melted chocolate. Then fold this mix into the remaining meringue, making sure you use a rubber spatula at this point.

5. Now fold in the egg yolks into approximately one-third of the chocolate-meringue mixture. Fold in the rest of the chocolate-meringue mixture into the mix with the yolks.

6. Spoon or pipe the souffle mix into your ramekins. Level the tops of each ramekin so that the souffle mixture is even with the top of the ramekins. Run your thumb along the inside edge of each ramekin rim. Bake the souffles on the middle rack until they have risen, formed a crust on top, but are still jiggly in the center, approximately 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

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