One of my favorite flavor mixtures is chocolate, orange, and coffee. There is something magical about the way the three of them work together, with the delightful richness of the chocolate, fruity zest of the orange, and the coffee providing this pervasive and aromatic taste which links the others together. None of these flavors overpowers the others; they meld together in excellent harmony.
This soufflé is superbly light and yet somehow extraordinarily rich. It is airy and delightful to eat. Perhaps it isn’t surprising the recipe should have a classic provenance; I adapted it from Hows and Whys of French Cooking, by Julia Child, who I think is still the standard-bearer for much of classic French food. The recipe isn’t even that difficult—and for such an elegant and beautiful result it is definitely worth it.
The recipe makes quite a lot of soufflé batter, so be prepared! I used nine individual soufflé cups, although admittedly a few of mine are quite small, and I don’t have a large number of big ramekins. But it is definitely worth it to have such a nice and charming dessert, so satisfying to eat, especially when served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
5 ounces semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
5 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 cups flour
2 oranges, zested
1 cup sugar
8 egg whites
4 egg yolks
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons butter
Choose either a large single soufflé dish or a number of smaller soufflé dishes. (I used 9 of the latter, but that is because I had small ones.) Either apply non-stick spray or butter and flour them.
Melt the chocolate and the coffee together in a medium-sized double boiler saucepan, over simmering water, until they mix smoothly together. Take off the heat.
Put the cornstarch, 1/2 cup of milk, and orange zest in with the chocolate, and beat until they are smoothly combined. Beat in the other cup of milk and 2/3 cup of sugar. Bring back to a boil and stir a few seconds, then remove from heat. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter into this. Once cooled enough, add in the 4 egg yolks and mix together.
Beat the 8 egg whites and the pinch of salt in a large separate mixing bowl until they begin to stiffen, then sprinkle in the 1/3 cup of sugar and beat further until they are very stiff and glossy. Beat 1/4 of this into the chocolate mixture, then fold all of this into the egg whites.
Pour the batter into the individual ramekins or soufflé dish, and put into an oven preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, then turn down the temperature to 375. If using the individual soufflés, cook for 35 minutes, sprinkling the tops with powdered sugar after 25 minutes, and if using a large soufflé dish, cook for 45 minutes, sprinkling the tops with powdered sugar after 35.
Serve immediately, while still warm. It is excellent with ice cream, crème anglaise, or other toppings.
Credits: Ryan Thomas