‘The Harvard of Chocolate Schools’, École du Grand Chocolat Valrhona trains the world’s leading pastry chefs and chocolatiers. The world-renowned culinary school has also published a brand new book, through Flammarion – ‘Encyclopedia of Chocolate: Essential Recipes and Techniques’.
Including insights from Valrhona chefs, the book covers all of the fundamental skills and techniques, plus more than 100 easy-to-follow recipes; from the simplest chocolate dishes to more inventive, contemporary dishes. This chocolate soufflé, for instance, is a failsafe guide to celebrated (often disastrous) dinner party staple.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10–12 minutes
Refrigeration time: 30 minutes
1 pastry brush
6 individual soufflé molds or ramekins
A little butter, melted, to grease the soufflé molds
A little sugar to sprinkle over the greased molds
5 ½ oz. (150 g) bittersweet chocolate, 70 percent cocoa
4 eggs, separated
½ cup (3 ½ oz./100 g) sugar
1 heaped teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 heaped teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup minus 3 tablespoons (200 ml) whipping cream
Using a pastry brush, carefully butter the molds with butter. Then sprinkle them all over with sugar, turning them upside down to remove the excess. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Chop the chocolate and melt it slowly in a bain-marie or in the microwave oven (on “defrost” or at 500 W maximum, stirring from time to time).
Slowly start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar. Continue until they form soft peaks.
Sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch together. Pour the cold cream into a saucepan and add the sifted ingredients. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly so that the liquid does not stick. When it simmers and starts to thicken, remove from the heat and slowly pour one-third over the melted chocolate.
Using a flexible spatula, mix it in energetically, drawing small circles to create an elastic, shiny “kernel.” Incorporate the second third of the liquid, using the same procedure. Repeat with the last third.
Add the egg yolks, whisking energetically until the texture is smooth and shiny. Carefully fold in one-third of the whisked egg whites with a spatula. When the consistency has been lightened, so to speak, carefully fold in the remaining egg whites.
Fill the molds up to the top, cleaning the rim so that the batter does not stick to it and so that the soufflés can rise straight up. Chill until they are to be baked.
About 30 minutes before serving the dessert, preheat the oven to 425°F (210°C–220°C).
Remove the soufflés from the refrigerator and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until well risen with a nicely done crust. Serve immediately.
Recipe extracted from Encyclopedia of Chocolate by Frédéric Bau and École du Grand Chocolat Valrhona (Published by Flammarion 2018, £24.95). Photography © Clay McLachlan 2018.