101 in how to torture me as a Chef, make me work a day as a Pastry Chef. Recipes!?! That I must follow with exact precision. What? I admire pastries. I love to eat pastries. But cooking pastries is a whole different discussion. What, might you ask is my problem? Well, lets start with following exact directions. I cannot just add a dash of this, throw in a touch of that. Without proper hands on experience with tried and true recipes, ad libs to a baking recipe tend to fall flat, literally! Just watch Top Chef, see the fear that appears in the eyes of a Chef as they face the challenge of crafting a dessert.
This is probably not the best way to start a conversation for how to bake anything… but we all must face our demons at some point. Having a set of handy, tried and true dessert recipes will be your best friend when venturing into the world of sugar and spice and all things nice.
That being said, I am starting a Back to Basics Recipe Series and our first subject will be chocolate soufflé with Rum Milk. Soufflés are a classic French dessert that combine a pudding like base with whipped egg whites that puff up in the oven and create an airy, light dessert. The real challenge of a soufflé is timing. You must serve it straight out of the oven as it will deflate in minuets after being baked. The Rum Milk acts as the perfect side-kick, something I dreamed up with the help of my culinary partner in arms, Ben. I had the pleasure of eating the classic bread pudding soufflé at Commanders Palace in New Orleans early on in my career and I have a strong memory of that dessert. When they brought the dessert to the table they punched down the center of the soufflé and poured a warmed crème anglaise into the center. This is my suggested service style with the rum milk. Although, I have seen one or two guests love it so much, they drink it!
Yields 8 ramekins
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
6 oz milk chocolate*
6 oz dark chocolate
½ cup of heavy cream
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
6 egg whites, room temperature
2 tablespoons of sugar
Yields 3 cups
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup dark rum
½ vanilla bean, scraped
1 quart whole milk
For the Chocolate Soufflé :
Lightly butter the inside of 8, 4 ounce ramekins. Sprinkle with sugar, allowing to the coat the buttered sides. Tap out any extra. Place on a baking pan.
Mix milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and cream in a metal bowl. Bring 2 cups of water to a simmer in a sauce pan over low heat. Place metal bowl on top of the sauce pan, stirring until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Remove from heat. Stir in egg yolks and salt and set aside. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually mix in sugar and continue to whip until the whites form stiff peaks. Using a spatula, gently fold a third of the eggs whites into the melted chocolate. Fold in the remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. Fill the ramekins almost all the way to the top. As this point the soufflé can be placed into the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bake at 400°F for ten minuets. Serve immediately.
For the Rum Milk:
In a sauce pan mix brown sugar and rum. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. This will help cook out the alcohol and prevent the milk from curdling. Add in milk and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer on low heat and cook until reduced by a third. I suggest serving it warm or at room temperature.
*I like to use Valrhona Dark & Milk Chocolate.
** Rum suggestions: Goslings or Myers