- To make the crème patisserie, bring the milk and cream to the boil in a saucepan then take it off the heat. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together, sift the flours onto the mixture and whisk. To stop the sauce ending up lumpy, whisk a splash of the milk mix in first then pour in the rest, whisking as you go. Put the pan on the heat and stir with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes, then take it off the heat and whisk it. Keep taking the pan on and off the heat, whisking as you go, until the crème patisserie thickens. Cook it for a reasonable amount of time so the flour flavour cooks out but don’t overdo it or the mixture may split. Five minutes should be enough. You should end up with a thickish, smooth sauce. Chill until you need it, it’ll keep for a day or so.
- Now prep the moulds. You’ll need 2 soufflé moulds or 2 ramekins. To butter moulds properly start by putting a little butter in the base of each mould and then brush upwards around the mould using vertical strokes. You brush upwards to encourage the soufflé to rise evenly. If your mould has a rim, make sure the butter covers the inside of the rim as well. Now chill the ramekins to set the butter for 2 minutes and then brush on another layer in the same way. Don’t be tempted to chill the first layer for any longer or you’ll end up with 2 separate layers rather than 1 thick one. Spoon the chocolate into the first mould and turn it around, tipping the chocolate so it covers the inside completely, do this over a dish to catch any that falls out. Tip the excess into the next mould and repeat until you have covered all of them. Chill the moulds until you need them.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and let it cool. This will make the base flavour so it should be quite strong. Use 70% dark chocolate.
- Put the egg white from the crème patisserie in a bowl and start to whisk it, you need to get a bit of momentum going before you add the sugar so make sure they get quite thick first. Add a few drops of lemon juice to help strengthen the bond between the whites, whisk this in and then add the sugar, whisking all the time. I use a table top mixer for this but a hand whisk will do the job as well. Keep whisking until you have a very thick, shiny mixture.
- You can now start putting together the soufflé. When you use a base flavour that is quite acidic like this one, you need to be careful that it doesn’t curdle the base or the egg white. Put the crème patisserie in a bowl, add the chocolate mixture and whisk the lot together.
- Add 2/3 of the egg white to start with and really beat it in with a whisk. This will make sure that the flavouring is equally distributed and will make the mixture loose enough to fold in the rest of the white. Keep beating until the mixture is quite smooth and there are no lumps – you are not trying to end up with a stiff mixture so don’t worry if it gets quite floppy. Now add the remaining egg white to the bowl and fold it in very gently, this is the only stage at which you have to be gentle. You might be surprised at how soft the mixture is at this point, but don’t worry, it shouldn’t be too stiff. If you get the mixture right at this point, it will hold in the fridge for up to 1 1/2 hours so you can make it before your guests arrive and then just cook the soufflés when you need them.
- Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Fill each mould 3/4 full then tap on the work surface to get rid of any air bubbles. Fill right up to the top. Flatten off the top of each by scraping across the surface with the blade of a knife. Clean the mould then run the tip of your finger around the inside edge of the mould to separate the mixture from the dish, this will stop the soufflé flopping over the edge of the dish as it rises. Put the soufflés on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes or until risen. Don’t open the oven door completely, you can have a little look but keep the temperature even. As long as the soufflés are cooked properly they won’t sink straight away, give them a shake to make sure they are not too wobbly and check the top looks cooked. Dust with icing sugar straight away and serve.
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