We rose to the occasion today in order to celebrate National Chocolate Souffle Day: Tara and I decided to have a chocolate souffle bake-off. Keep in mind, neither of us had ever made a souffle of any kind. We’ve watched enough cooking shows over the years to know that souffles have tripped up many a good chef before, so I’ll admit it: I was apprehensive going into the challenge. How’d we fare? Read on!
Souffle is French for “gonna collapse on your ass.” They can be either savory or sweet, and are traditionally baked in ramekins. European cooks during the Renaissance often used whisked egg whites in desserts, but it wasn’t until the invention of meringue that the souffle was perfected. The secret to a good meringue is to whip it. Whip it good. Famed French chef Antoine Beauvilliers (once the personal chef of none other than Louis C.K. – oops, got that wrong, King Louis XIV) – is believed to have served the first souffles at his restaurant, La Grande Tavern, in the late 18th century; he later published a cookbook, L’Art du Cuisinier, that featured souffle recipes. Another cookbook published in 1841, Patissier Royal Parisien, devoted so much attention to proper souffle technique that it’s obvious chefs for centuries have had problems with souffles collapsing on them.
Needless to say, none of this instilled confidence in my own souffle-making skills, but (understatement alert!!) Tara and I tend to be a tad competitive, so without further ado it was game on.
It was game on in front of a live audience, by the way.
Earlier in the day, a couple of our Facebook followers urged us to stream the competition online using a service called UStream. I had never heard of UStream before, but decided to swallow my pride and give it a go. So there we were, whipping up our souffles in the kitchen while simultaneously chatting live with a few viewers. It was a nerve-wracking and humbling experience, at least for me. And might have affected my cooking abilities. I’m not sure…maybe that’s just an excuse, because the winner of the challenge was…drumroll, please….
By a country mile. Her souffle turned out light and airy. It rose perfectly and did not collapse. And most importantly of all, it was DELICIOUS! Mine, on the other hand? Well, it was darker. So there’s that.
Either way, we had a blast!
- Chocolate and Raspberry Souffles with Lavender Mascarpone Cream (underthebluegumtree.com)
- Chocolate soufflé (owenrichardson.com)