Chocolate Soufflé is both one of the toughest and most delicious desserts ever invented, but hopefully if you follow this guide closely you should get a decent result.
- 170g of baking chocolate
- 4 eggs
- 100g of sugar
- 1 coffee spoon of corn starch
- 1 coffee spoon of cocoa powder
- 200mL of heavy cream
- Unsalted butter
- Sauce pot (smallest pot possible)
- 4 to 8 oven resistant glass/cermic cups
- Start by cutting the baking chocolate into small pieces (bigger than powder but smaller than pebbles), the size doesnt really matter as long as its small.
- Now place your sauce pot on the stove turn the heat to the lowest possible. Add the cream and using a sieve, add the cocoa powder and the corn starch. Even though this amount looks ridiculously small and might not even cover the bottom of the pot, don't worry.
- Wait until either bubbles appear or that the cocoa powder is obviously melted. Whisk the mixture and when done, turn off the heat and add the chocolate you cut in pieces.
- Then separate the yolks from the egg whites and mix the yolks with the chocolate mixture (keep the white in a bowl).
- After whisking for some time you should obtain a smooth result.
- Now whisk the egg whites until they form a snowy result. As you beat the whites, add the sugar step by step, a small amount at a time. When the whites stick to the bottom of the bowl, it means its ready. Be careful, as sugar is mixed, you won't be able to achieve the same hardness as usually when beating egg whites, don't be surprised.
- Pour the chocolate mix in a bigger bowl. Now comes the most delicate part of the process (forget about the electric beater), take a big spoon and add some egg whites to the chocolate. Don't mix! simply try to move it around slow until it becomes incorporated in the chocolate. Do this again until all the whites are in the chocolate and it looks uniform.
- This is all for now! pour the resulting batter in small oven resistant cups and place them in the fridge until you decide to serve, if you feel like eating it right away, then don't wait and keep reading.
When ready to serve
- Preheat your oven to 355F (180C).
- Place your cups in the oven for 10 to 15 mins (could take up to 20 mins). You know they are ready when you see them blowing and rising out of their cups.
- The chocolate soufflé should have a thin crust on the outside, have a light air filled inside with bubbles and the core may be more or less liquid, depending on how you like it.
Shopping for groceries is a valuable skill to have, no matter who you are. I mean, unless you have a personal grocery shopper... But those types aside, it's always good to not only be able to pick out the cheapest produce, but the best, as well. I learned one such neat trick from my aunt while tagging along shopping once: smack a watermelon to tell how nice it is.
The reason smacking the melon works is that as the melon ripens, its internal composition changes. This causes vibrations that are sent through the watermelon (such as those that might come from a nice smack) to have different effects on it. The key here is to smack it with an open palm and to feel the feedback you get. The more solid it feels, the less ready it is; that is, if it feels like smacking a rock, put the watermelon down. Essentially, the stronger the reverberations from it are, the more ready it is. A note of caution, though: while a melon that feels too 'solid' is likely to be dry and tasteless, a melon that vibrates TOO much is also bad. However, most people usually err towards the side of unripe, so the second is not a very common occurrence; it should still be noted, though.
A lot of people will say that this technique does not work. My theory is that they are doing it wrong; I will see a lot of people experimentally tapping it with a finger, or knocking on the melon with their knuckles, like at a door. I might be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure you cannot feel much feedback from that as opposed to from the palm of your hand. Theoretically, they could also listen to the sound that comes from the melon, since sound is also caused by vibrations; however, to tell the difference, they would need pretty damned good hearing. Combine that with the general bustle of a typical market and well... Let's just say I'd be amazed if you could tell the differences between the sounds.
Of course, there are other ways of telling the ripeness of a melon. The standard axiom of "if it looks bad, then it probably is" follows through here; obviously a nice round melon is better than one that's lopsided with pits all over it. I have also heard of people looking on the underside of the melon (the side that's touching the ground while it is growing) for a nice deep yellow spot, and people scratching the very top of the rind off to look at the color underneath. Personally, I have not confirmed any of these; thumping it has always been enough for me.
There are so many Rums available in such a range of prices that if you have no clue, you will never be able to choose the right Rum for your crêpes or your flambée desserts.
- White or Dark?
- Cheap or Aged?
- Local or imported? where from?
- How can I tell if a Rum will be good?
- Which brand? How much does it cost?
It is usually preferable to go with a Dark Rum as it has more flavor and will caramelize in your desserts.
Now this depends on your wallet and the purpose. If you plan to use it inside a batter, it is better to go with a cheap one as the taste will not matter that much, where as if you will pour it on a crêpe for instance and set it on fire (or not), then an Aged Rum will be incredibly better.
For cooking, Rums from pacific/atlantic colonies such as French Polynesia are the best as they have been made using cane sugar which gives the best taste.
You can obviously not taste it, it is not meant for drinking and probably won't be that good. When it is cooked, the flavor changes anyway. The best way to know if a Rum will be good is to smell it. The stronger and flavorful it is, the best.
On the US continent, you will find the Meyer's Dark Rum in any liquor store, between $20 and $30. If you are in Europe, a good choice is Negrita, for between 10 and 20 euros. These two Rums are pretty generic and of good quality, you can use them in batters as well as flambées.
For anybody who doesn't know, Raclette is a pretty generic cows' milk cheese found mainly in Europe. However, it also refers to the dish that uses this cheese as one of the main ingredients. In essence, Raclette is an extremely fancy boiled potato. The cheese (what kind of cheese should be obvious, I hope) is then heated up until melted and slightly crispy, and scraped over the potato(es). It is usually served with a dry meat such as prosciutto. Common sides to this include mushrooms, salad, and gherkins.
As an asian, I'm generally not a very big fan of boiled potatoes and cheese. The typical stuff I see--potatoes with cheese and broccoli, maybe a few chicken nuggets on the side if you're lucky--are usually not to my tastes; it's always fat and lacking in flavor. Filling, yes, but that's about it; one of the lesser evils of high school lunch. The raclette I had (with white potatoes, prosciutto, and mushrooms), however, was a different experience altogether. The cheese alone was a bit too powerful for me to gulp down with a spoon, but it was pleasantly salty when mellowed down by the potato. The flavor of the ham accentuated this further, but did not make it overly salty. The combination turned something that's usually bland and fat in my mind into something warm and actually quite nice. Incidentally, the mushrooms I had were also of good quality, but they're not really the center of attention here.
All in all, raclette is something to try at least once. The downside is that people rarely ever make it the way it's made in the Alps originally--Not only that, but the raclette (the actual cheese) is rare and hideously expensive in the US. One small wedge (and I'm talking 15 degrees, small) is about $5 at Whole Foods; yikes. Prosciutto is also expensive, but can be found more easily at common markets such as Shaw's and Stop and Shop. Despite the price though, it should be tried if possible.