Look, I'm a jaded individual when it comes to both Hollywood and Valentines Day. Chalk it up, if you will, to not receiving any valentines during my awkward teenage years, or the fact that most of my Valentine holidays while part of a married couple have been spent as a restaurant widow, but whatever the case I prefer to lay low and enjoy the culinary pleasures coming out of my own kitchen rather than attend some sort of overpriced, understaffed special restaurant prix-fixe that's just going to disappoint. So, in that vein I've decided to show my love for you, dear readers, by gifting you with the recipe for the chocolate soufflé that I make for my loved one every year on Valentines Day.
I adapted this recipe from Julia Child's classic kitchen tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking. While many of the recipes are kind of outdated for our modern lives, you really can't beat this book when you want to make something classically French for a special occasion (like, say, Valentines Day). As my faithful readers know, I do my best to avoid dairy, sugar and gluten, so I've made this indulgent soufflé without all of the usual suspects that bother my system (though I did use real butter because, well, butter is freaking delicious). Trust me, you and your loved one will never know or miss them when you're shoveling in huge spoonfuls of this dessert.
Gluten-free, Sugar-free Soufflé au Chocolat
7 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate (splurge on a high-quality chocolate - I like Guittard)
1/3 cup super-fine brown rice flour
2 cups almond milk (or soy or rice or whatever you prefer)
3 Tblsp. organic unsalted butter (plus a bit extra for greasing the dish)
4 egg yolks
1 Tblsp. pure vanilla extract
6 egg whites
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Grease a 2- to 2 1/2 quart soufflé dish or a straight-sided baking dish 7 1/2 - 8 inches in diameter.
- Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler over almost simmering water (you can also use a glass bowl set inside a saucepan). Be sure to stir the chocolate often so it doesn't burn.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, add the flour and slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Add the butter and stir over medium heat until boiling; boil, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and beat to cool slightly, approximately 1 minute. You should have a somewhat taupe-colored roux, or flour-milk-butter paste that is the foundation for so many French recipes.
- One by one, whisk the egg yolks into the hot sauce, then the smoothly melted chocolate, and finally the vanilla.
- Beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed. Then, by sprinkles, beat in the sugar until stiff shining peaks are formed.
- Scrape the chocolate mixture into the side of the egg white bowl; delicately fold them together. Turn the soufflé mixture into the prepared mold and set on a rack on the lower level of the preheated oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the soufflé is well risen and the top has cracked. The soufflé should still be creamy in the center.
- Serve immediately (if you'd like, you can sprinkle the top with a little it of powdered sugar).