Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TWD: Chocolate Souffle

First of all, I must tell you I was stunned when the little blogger dashboard said I had not posted since August 18th. I knew it had been awhile, but 3 weeks -- really?!?! YIKES! I have no "good" excuses ("good" as in really bad, as in some calamity struck me making my absence obvious and forgivable). August just hasn't been my best month for a couple of years now - I am beset with allergies, and end of summer blahs, plus it has been hotter than you-know-what. So hot my thermostat on the heater just went to the far right and let me guess how hot it was. So hot that I was pretty sure my candy thermometer would be able to give me an idea of the temperature in my house. Happily we're now living in post-heat wave when all is well and August is over. Pre-heat wave I did some stuff that I'll post later, but today, I want to focus on the souffle at hand.

I feel pretty confident tempering eggs, but when it comes to whipping egg whites I'm a mess. I've never gotten the hang of it, even in my baking class, so I approached this with a wee bit of trepidation. Ironically, I have an incredible soft spot in my heart for chocolate souffle. It is at the heart of one of my favorite work moments - not a triumph that one should be proud of, mind you, but one that to this day fills me with a certain amount of satisfaction.

I wasn't sure how the results would look, so I went for really nice mise en place!

Ten years ago I had just worked for a decade in a variety of places and fields where the best of times were behind the organization. Ten years of "do you remember when (insert something really awesome here) happened?" Which I didn't remember because it was before my time. I only experienced the crummy times that followed. Well this was my opportunity to spoil it for someone else!

I didn't plan on spoiling it for someone else. I was just going to a Christmas luncheon. At the time I worked on the outskirts of the entertainment industry. By outskirts I mean the last farm on the end of a long dirt road that had no other houses and no lights. But there was a lunch at a restaurant in LA that was famous for their chocolate souffle, so everyone ordered that early (as the kitchen needed time to prepare). Since the "big wigs" were sitting at a table together, that left us "little wigs" alone with an open menu. I totally succumbed (willingly) to the peer pressure of the mail room guys to order the crab cakes as the appetizer, the fillet for the main, and the aforementioned souffle for dessert. I don't even want to think what the tab for drinks was at my table. And by drinks, I mean drinks! As you might imagine, it was the most wonderful lunch I ever, EVER had.

The following year, after I moved on to another job in another industry, there was a pre-set menu at the Christmas luncheon.

I know I shouldn't feel proud. But after all the living in a world spoiled by someone else, it was a nice change.

Fast forward to this week -- this was my first post-heat wave project. I'm still a little dodgy about egg whites, but this seemed to come together okay. Although I knew better, I probably under buttered the ramekins, so I didn't have that nice "straight up" puff. What it lacked in beauty, it totally made up in flavor. These babies were awesome!

So thanks to Susan, at She's Becoming DoughMessTic for picking an awesome recipe and allowing me to stroll down memory lane. Both are greatly appreciated. Head over to Susan's blog for the recipe -- it appears that she has fond memories about souffles as well!

1 comment:

Jayne said...

I love your individual souffles! They look great!