Monday, February 06, 2006

Chocolate Soufflés with Cardamom Crème Anglaise

I finally took the plunge and attempted my first soufflé. Because of the countless stories of failure I've heard through the years, the very thought of making these delicate delights on my own has always struck fear in my heart. Adding the fact that I have very little experience with baking of any kind made the trek into this extremely unfamiliar territory even more daunting. But since it was my birthday, I threw fear to the wind and gave it a go.

For once I actually followed a recipe's instructions to the letter, with absolutely no modifications or improvisation, as I am learning that baking, unlike regular cooking, seems to be more of an exact science. But alas, my good-hearted efforts quickly became a comedy of errors, the finale being that I somehow managed to spill about 1/5 of the soufflé mixture onto the counter just before pouring it into the ramekins. As a result, they didn't rise nearly as high as they should have. They did, however, peak about 1/4 of an inch above the rim, but by the time I shot the photo they had already fallen. I had no idea they would deflate that quickly. Less than five minutes out of the oven they looked like this.

I was so disappointed with the aesthetic results that I had decided to not even bother writing this entry or posting a photo, but since this was my birthday treat (dedicated to my friend, HAM), I swallowed my pride. After all, I had at least made the effort. I guess I could have cleaned up the ramekins a bit before taking the photo, but I was so steamed about spilling the mixture and the souffles dropping, I simply didn't think. For the life of me I still can't figure out how I did that. The good news is that, despite how sad they appear in the photo, my chocolate baby soufflés were absolutely fabulous and the Cardamom Crème Anglaise turned out quite well (I love this stuff!). While I've always enjoyed the taste of cardamom in Masala Chai (a tea that I also made this weekend) and savory Indian dishes, I now have an even deeper appreciation for these multi-talented little green pods.

Chocolate Soufflés with Cardamom Crème Anglaise
Source: Bon Appetit, February 2006, p. 104

Ingredients: (8 servings)

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon course kosher salt


Place chocolate and butter in medium bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in small bowl. Bring milk and vanilla to boil in heavy small saucepan. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into sugar mixture to blend. Return mixture to same saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until thick paste forms, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Scrape mixture into bowl with chocolate and butter; stir until chocolate is melted (mixture may look curdled). Add egg yolks and whisk until mixture looks shiny and creamy.

Butter eight 3/4 cup soufflé dishes or custard cups; dust with sugar. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. With mixer running, gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar, then salt; beat just until soft peaks form. Fold 1/3 of whites into soufflé base until well combined. Gently fold in remaining egg whites just to blend (some white streaks may remain). Divide batter among prepared dishes. Place dishes on rimmed baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake soufflés until puffed above rim of dish, tops are flat and edges are set, about 12 minutes. Serve immediately with Cardamom Crème Anglaise.

Cardamom Crème Anglaise

Ingredients: (8 servings)

2 tablespoons whole green cardamom pods, crushed
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 large egg yolks

Place cardamom pods with seeds in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until pods brown, about 5 minutes. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan; add bean. Bring mixture to boil. Whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes (do not boil). Cover and chill until cold, about 3 hours. Strain into medium pitcher.

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At Monday, February 06, 2006 2:02:00 PM, Anonymous HAM said...

Looks pretty good to me did you save mine or is gone yet(smile).


At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 5:35:00 PM, Anonymous Mixed Masala said...

Hey Mick-Mick! :o)

Thank you, my friend. Of course you already know that batch is already gone, but I'll make sure you get yours when you arrive. No doubt!


At Sunday, February 12, 2006 4:39:00 PM, Blogger Marc said...

Hello fellow Masala-blogger,
I'd like to invite you to participate in the You Are What You Eat meme. My post, in which I requested you to contribute, is here.

The appearance of your blog is quite impressive--one of the most eye pleasing I can think of. It is amazing how much you were able to do on the right column within the constraints of the blogger interface.

- Marc, of Mental Masala

At Sunday, February 12, 2006 6:47:00 PM, Anonymous Mixed Masala said...

Hey Marc!

Thanks for dropping by Mixed Masala and the nice compliments. Blogger does have its limitations, but the sidebar seems to be pretty flexible. I just try to have fun with it. Actually, I'm in the process of designing the layout for, which I hope to transition to pretty soon. I'll keep ya posted.

I've admired your blog for quite some time now and I'm honoured that you tagging me for this meme. I'll have to give it a bit of thought, but I'm sure I can come up with something pretty soon.

At Thursday, February 16, 2006 9:13:00 PM, Blogger Jasmine said...

What a great post and beautiful pictures.

I'd not seen the cardamom creme anglaise variation before--I'll have to try it :)


At Saturday, February 18, 2006 6:07:00 PM, Blogger Sylvie said...

That does look so good.

At Saturday, February 18, 2006 8:05:00 PM, Blogger Mixed Masala said...

Hey J and Sylvie,

Nice to see you ladies drop by.

Thank you for the compliments. Yes, the cardamom variation of the crème anglaise is a bit unique, but certainly worth all the effort. Mos def!

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