Many years ago I dated a flight attendant for United Airlines. During that courtship, I was told that whenever ones flies internationally, one should ALWAYS bring a gift to the flight crew. Whilst it was meant as a joke, I took it seriously and have always done so. For years my confections of choice were “Slicks” (think chocolate truffles in the form of a disk) from Joseph Schmidt Confections. I’m off to various parts of Europe for a moto ride and since Joseph Schmidt Confections no longer exists, I had to find a new purveyor of sweets. A friend suggested I try Recchiuti Confections at the Ferry Building along San Francisco’s waterfront. Prior to making the trek over to the store, I decided to check out their product listing on their website, http://www.recchiuti.com. Aside from showcasing their wide array of confections, the website also has recipies. Score! That’s the best kind of website, one with recipies. One particular recipe caught my eye: Blood Orange and Chocolate Chunk Souffles. I’m a sucker for the combination of orange and chocolate. Unfortunately, I was so excited about making and consuming this ethereal dessert, I failed to snap a photo prior to its consumption. So, instead, I am providing a photo of me zip-lining in Whistler, BC earlier this summer. Here’s the recipe just in case you want to make it yourself. Try to take a photo before you dig in. I will warn you, it’s not easy to wait that long.
Blood Orange Chocolate Soufflé
Recipe courtesy Recchiuti Confections
Yield: 6 servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
1 cup granulated cane sugar
1 medium blood orange, navel or Valencia may be substituted
3/4 cup granulated cane sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split horizontally
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup granulated cane sugar
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 extra-large egg, separated and at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated cane sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
Coat the bottoms and sides of six 6-ounce individual soufflé molds with butter. Divide the sugar evenly among the molds, and then tilt and rotate the molds to coat the bottoms and sides fully and evenly. Refrigerate the molds while you prepare the soufflé base.
Using a very sharp knife, carefully slice the orange into 1/4 inch slices.
Gently stir the oranges, sugar and water in a large saucepan to coat. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean into the pan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool completely at room temperature. Once cool, chop the mixture into fine pieces. You will need about ½ cup of chopped orange for the base.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the flour and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk together by hand.
Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk by hand until blended. Put the milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and add the flour mixture. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the milk-flour mixture into the egg yolks to warm them slightly. Carefully add the yolks to the remaining milk-flour mixture. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the base is the consistency of mayonnaise, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Transfer the base to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool for 30 minutes.
Put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on medium speed until they start to froth. Increase the speed to high and add the sugar. Beat until the whites start to lose their shine but still look wet. They hill hang in medium-stiff peaks when the whip is lifted from the bowl. Fold about one-third of the whites into the base with a rubber spatula. Gently fold in the rest of the whites, chopped chocolate and orange filling just until no streaks remain.
Distribute the mixture evenly among the prepared molds, filling them level and smooth with the top. Put the molds on a sheet pan.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven until the soufflés rise about 1 inch above the rim of the molds and have a crust on top, about 20 minutes. They will be wobbly. Transfer them to serving plates and take them to the table immediately.
Variation: Just before serving, pierce the cap of each soufflé and spoon a tablespoon of Extra-Bitter Chocolate Sauce mixed with a touch of Grand Marnier into the center.