Monday, May 22, 2006

Half-baked Chocolate Souffle

Anytime I see "Chocolate Souffle" on a menu, I cannot help but order it. My little obsession started at a local restaurant in Laguna Beach called 230 Forest Ave. So for Jeremy's birthday cake this year, I was deteremined for a new project, and found the perfect recipe along with a chocolate sauce to make. It turned out so delicious! If you love chocolate, it's a must try! I served it with French Vanilla Ice cream and chocolate sauce. See recipe below. Bon Appetit! And Happy Birthday Jeremy!!

· 1 pound semisweet Ghirardelli chocolate, coarsely chopped
· 1 cup unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for coating cake pan
· 8 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
· Pinch of salt
· 3/4 cup superfine sugar, plus more for coating cake pan
· 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, or Orange liqueur
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
· French Vanilla Ice Cream for serving
· Grand Marnier Chocolate Sauce (see below)

1. Place an oven rack on the middle shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a 10-Inch souffle dish with melted butter and coat the bottom and sides of the pan with superfine sugar. Tap out any excess sugar.
2. Combine the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat, uncovered, on medium power for 1 1/2 to 4 minutes, until the butter melts and the chocolate becomes soft and shiny. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir until chocolate is completely melted and thoroughly combined with the butter. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer set at medium speed, beat the egg yolks and salt until blended. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the mixture is pale yellow and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon on the surface of the batter when the beaters are lifted. Whisk in the Grand Marnier and vanilla. Gradually whisk the egg yolk mixture into the melted chocolate.
4. In a large, clean bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer at low speed until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue beating until the whites become opaque and form soft mounds in the bowl. Continue beating, adding the remaining 1/2 cup sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, until soft peaks form.
Stir one third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate batter to soften it. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites just until blended.
5. Spoon the chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cake appears puffy and firm. The cake should still be moist but not liquid in the center, so a bamboo skewer inserted into the cake should not come out clean.
6. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. It will fall slightly as it cools. Slice and serve the cake slightly warm with Creme Anglaise or ice cream. Drizzle with chocolate sauce.

Grand Marnier Chocolate sauce:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
3/4 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
In a saucepan over high heat combine cream, Grand Marnier and sugar. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and stir in chocolate immediately, stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Keep warm in a double boiler or bain marie or serve immediately. Yield: about 3/4 cup