Souffle Me

Smelling Daffodils
All other info unknown.
Post card purchased at a junk store.

While I was in New York this last time, I had the wonderful opportunity to eat at Craft where I had a wonderful chocolate souffle for dessert. Completely inspired by my experience, I realized that I had not yet made a chocolate souffle to add to my collection and that, gast! I still hadn't devised my own recipe. After some quiet consideration, I realized that I had never created a recipe of my own because years ago, I had already found it, way back in 2003.

When I arrived back home, I had to dig through four years worth of magazine clippings to find the equivalent to the arc of the covenant of chocolate soufflés. And when my fingers finally found the onion paper thin magazine clipping, I felt a wave of excitement course through my body. There it was, the very first chocolate souffle recipe that I made since my Celiac diagnosis. God, I remember how frantically I wanted this recipe to come into my life. It was just one of those things, I became obsessed with finding the most sublime flourless chocolate souffle I could find.

Well, less than a week into my initial search, the Sunday New York Times arrived and low and behold, right there in the food section (02.02.03), was the answer to my late night prayers: Francois Payard’s Chocolate Upside-down Soufflés. Talk about finding a connection in the universe that makes your heart sing, the theme music of your choice to begin playing and an uncontrollable “yes” to pass your lips. I was over the moon. I made the recipe immediately and the results were so mind blowingly good, I made them again the next night and the night after that.

Before I sampled this recipe, I had tried 5 others with disappointing results. One was too grainy, one was too dry, one was too wet, one was chewy, and one was decent. So what makes Francois’s chocolate soufflé so damn good?

Personally, I think it’s because there are only five ingredients in the entire recipe. Easy. In light of this fact, I only the very best ingredients I can get my hands on, especially the chocolate. Lately I’ve been favoring Sharffenberger over Valharona for the simple fact that I think it tastes better. Although some people die when informed of this blasphemous bit of information, I scoff at their ignorance. Sharffenberger chocolate is deep and purposeful in flavor. Strong cherry back notes amplify the cocoa and subtle terroir that waft and melt within your mouth. If you’ve never tired it, I highly recommend that you do. You’ll never go back, I swear.

I have ventured out and made Julia Child’s and Jacque Papin’s soufflés since and they are delicious, but they still don’t top Payard’s creation. Which I will humbly and dutifully hold as my standard for the best, and as such, I know I could never top this, so I’ve never even attempted to create my own recipe because I know that it would just make me look like a flaming hoses’ ass, not to others perhaps, but to myself, absolutely.

Plus, this recipe is so clear and simple, you’ll be a soufflé master in no time. So don’t be intimidated by the fancy name or the process, I assure you it is easy. Dive into this recipe head long because it will become an instant staple in your repertoire.

Francois Payard’s recipe for Chocolate Upside-Down soufflé has been adapted from the New York Times Magazine. February 2, 2003 Edition, pg. 74.


For the Soufflé:

1 ½ Sticks unsalted butter + more for greasing your soufflé ramekins
1/3 Cup granulated sugar + 1 Tablespoon + more for dusting soufflé ramekins
6 Ounces unsweetened chocolate, sliced into small pieces
4 Large eggs, separated
2 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375ºF and butter 8 4-oz. soufflé ramekins and then dust them with enough sugar so that the bottom and sides are completely coated. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the 1 ½ sticks of butter. Add the chocolate pieces and whisk until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is very smooth. Set aside to cool.

Beat the egg yolks in a stand up mixer at medium speed and gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar. Beat until the yolks are pale, thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Now beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until foamy and then add the lemon juice. Continue beating until the whites form soft gentle peaks. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and beat your egg whites until they are stiff yet shiny and are now about 5-6 times their normal volume.
Test the chocolate to make sure it is not too hot and then pour into your egg yolks, whisking the entire time. Incorporate until shiny and smooth.

Next take your egg whites and begin folding ¼ of the whites into your chocolate mixture. Repeat until all of your whites have been folded in. Spoon the mixture into your prepared ramekins and then place your ramekins into a roasting pan filled with enough boiling water to reach at least 1” up the sides of your soufflé molds.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is firm and a knife inserted near the center comes out almost clean. Remove your soufflés from the oven, and then remove them from your bain maire. Allow to sit for 2 minutes, invert your soufflés, top with your mandarin orange cream sauce (recipe below) and serve immediately.

You can refrigerate your soufflés over night, but this will result in a much denser soufflé which is great, but you will loose a tremendous amount of the lightness associated with the freshly baked soufflé.

Serves 8

This sauce is a beautiful accompanyment to anything chocolate. It has a wonderful, fluffy lightness coupled with the sweet citrus flavor of the mandarin oranges that must be experienced.


1 Whole egg
2 Egg yolks
1/3 Cup sugar
½ Cup freshly squeezed Mandarin orange juice
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Teaspoons cornstarch
1 Cup heavy cream
2 Teaspoons Mandarin orange zest

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, water and cornstarch. Bring to a boil and immediately pass your sauce through a fine sieve to eliminate any lumps that may have formed. Pour the cold heavy cream into the mixture and whisk until very smooth. Heavy, slow silk smooth. Zest your Mandarin orange right into your sauce and then whisk several times to incorporate.

Pour over your inverted chocolate soufflés and serve immediately.

Will keep 1-2 days covered and refrigerated.

Serves 8


knicksgrl0917 said...

hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until september...here is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here

Misie Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darlene Minsie said...

I love the tangy effect of mandarin orange cream sauce. Maybe you can create another recipe like this using lemons too for your gluten free desserts.