Little Chocolate and Rum Soufflés
By: Tamsin Burnett-HallServes: 6
As Easter comes around, thoughts inevitably turn to chocolate. But what if you want an intense chocolate hit, yet don't want to indulge in too much fat? Rich, dark cocoa is the low-fat cook's secret ingredient; I particularly love Green & Black's organic cocoa, which as well as having a fabulous flavour and deep colour has the added benefit of being a Fairtrade product. This soufflé recipe also relies on sauce flour, a superfine-milled flour that makes a perfectly smooth white sauce without the need for any fat.
I often make these soufflés when friends come round for dinner, as they can be part-prepared ahead and they look so impressive. Make up the chocolate sauce base ahead of time, then cool and beat in the vanilla extract, rum and grated chocolate, and leave the mixture at room temperature. If you then have your egg whites and sugar measured out and ready, ramekins on standby and baking sheet preheating in the oven, all you have to do after clearing the main course is to whisk up the egg whites and sugar and fold them into the chocolate sauce. Ten minutes later and your soufflés are ready to serve.
This recipe really does taste so sinfully good that I defy anyone who tries it to guess that this is a low-fat version – none of my friends ever has!
25g cocoa powder (preferably Green & Black's)
25g + 50g golden caster sugar
50g sauce flour
275ml skimmed milk
4 large egg whites
10ml vanilla extract
45ml dark rum
25g finely grated dark chocolate (minimum 75% cocoa solids, preferably Green & Black's)
icing sugar to dust
Optional serving suggestion:
half-fat crème fraîche
6 lightly oiled ramekins of 150ml capacity and a solid baking sheet
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6 with the baking sheet placed on the centre shelf, and the top shelf removed.
2. To make the sauce-base, tip the cocoa, 25g of the sugar, the sauce flour and a pinch of salt into a small saucepan. Gradually blend in the cold milk, whisking all the time. Place over a moderate heat and cook, still whisking, until the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens – it should be almost thick enough for the whisk to stand up unaided. Continue to cook for a minute or so, still stirring, to allow the rawness of the flour and cocoa to cook out, then pour the sauce into a large mixing bowl. Leave to cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then gradually whisk in the remaining sugar until the mixture is stiff and shiny. Now beat the vanilla extract and rum into the chocolate sauce, which will slacken it off a bit, followed by the grated chocolate.
4. Take one spoonful of the beaten egg whites and gently fold into the chocolate mixture, using a large metal spoon to loosen the mixture, before carefully but thoroughly folding in the remainder of the egg whites.
5. Divide the mixture between the ramekins, filling to within 1cm of the top, then run a knife blade around the edge of each ramekin to help give it a 'top hat' as it cooks.
6. Place the ramekins on the hot baking sheet and cook for 10–12 minutes. They should then be well risen and firm to the touch, but still slightly wobbly, which means that the centre will be a little bit 'saucy'.
7. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately. If you wish, break a hole in the centre of each soufflé and add a teaspoonful of half-fat crème fraîche, for a pleasing hot–cold contrast.
© Recipe copyright 2005 Tamsin Burnett-Hall