Over the last few weeks, Adam and I have had a number of family, friends and work colleagues visit us and stay for dinner. Trying to think of a dessert that is both scrumptious and appealing to the eye but also relatively painless to make … is not always an easy task. It is an unfortunate fact but making most desserts is a time draining exercise, the last thing anyone wants after a couple of hours in a hot kitchen preparing an entree and main meal, is to also find the energy to make dessert.
This chocolate dessert recipe is a sure-fire crowd pleaser and takes relatively no time to make. Best of all it can be made in three different ways depending on how much effort you wish to apply to the exercise. The basis of the recipe is a traditional chocolate soufflé but depending on the desired result you can execute the recipe to create a simple chocolate pudding, a chocolate lava cake or the ultimate indulgence a chocolate soufflé. the choice is entirely up to you.
Makes 4 to 6 serves (dependent of ramekin size)
200 g good quality chocolate
180 g butter (softened and chopped into small pieces)
1 teaspoon instant coffee
½ cup white sugar (if making soufflé use castor sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of an orange liqueur (Grand Marnier, Cointreau)
zest of an orange
⅓ cup plain flour
4 or 6 squares of fine quality chocolate (if making pudding or lava cake)
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Place a pot of water on the stove and sit a glass or metal bowl into the opening. The bowl should be large enough that it does not sit inside the pot nor should the water level be high enough to touch the bowl.
2. Place the chocolate into the bowl and heat the water over a medium temperature. As the water heats and gradually comes to the boil, the chocolate will soften and melt. Stir it occasionally to ensure the chocolate soften evenly and once fully melted add the butter and instant coffee and stir until the chocolate, butter and coffee are fully incorporated into one smooth liquid. Turn off the heat and allow bowl to remain over hot water, so it does not harden.
3. Meanwhile, grease ramekins with some extra butter and preheat oven to 180° C.
4. In a second bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until they lighten and begin to foam (if intending to make the soufflé version see below)
5. Gradually add the melted chocolate/butter liquid into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking continuously.
It is very important to add the warm chocolate/butter liquid slowly and gradually to the egg and sugar mixture – otherwise you will get scrambled eggs rather than a thickened batter.
6. Add the vanilla, liqueur and zest to the batter and whisk through before gradually folding in the flour.
7. Place a square of chocolate in the base of each ramekin and fill with the batter to within 2 cm (approximately) of the top, place on a tray and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
For lava cake cook for 10 minutes (the centre section of the cake should still have a wobble) for chocolate pudding cook for 15 minutes (the entire surface should appear dry and have no movement)
8. Either, turn upside-down or leave in ramekin, add serving of cream and/or chocolate sauce and dust with icing sugar before serving. Should be served warm.
If making Chocolate soufflé version
Follow instructions 1 to 3.
4. Instead of whisking whole eggs with sugar, separate the yolks from the whites and only whisk the whites with the castor sugar. You want the whites to form firm peaks when whisked.
To get stiff white peaks always use eggs that are at room temperature.
5. In another bowl, place yolks, vanilla, liqueur and orange zest and gently whisk together until combined.
6. Slowly add the chocolate/butter liquid to the yolk mixture, whisking continuously to create a smooth batter mixture and once combined gradually add the flour.
7. Take a small amounts of the foamy egg whites and gently incorporate into the chocolate batter with a folding motion so as to retain as much air as possible. When all whites are fully incorporated, pour the mixture equally between the ramekins and bake in oven for approximately 12 minutes.
The soufflés are cooked when they have risen above the lip of the ramekin and have a dry outer surface.
8. Place on individually serving plates, dust with icing sugar and serve as is or with cream.