Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hot Chocolate Souffle

I've always thought that the holy grail of vegan cooking is to make a souffle rise (and from chatter on other vegan websites, it looks like I'm not alone).  I can't resist trying though, and my results tonight were still not perfect, but were close enough to produce a yummy dessert.  I find that the trick is to use beaten Ener-G egg replacer in place of egg whites, and to give that egg replacer a boost from flour and baking powder.

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon vegan sugar
  • 3/4 cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Ener-G egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 4 Ener-G eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegan brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup coffee non-dairy ice cream*
1. Coat a 1 quart souffle dish with cooking spray and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar; set aside.

2. Combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, instant coffee, and salt in a small saucepan, stirring with a whisk until blended - the mixture smelled like a coffee milkshake at this point - yum!  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until thick.  Remove from heat.

3. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the Ener-G egg yolk (1 and 1/2 teaspoons powder whisked into 1 tablespoon warm water), stirring constantly with a whisk.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and chocolate, stirring until the chocolate melts.  I found it best to let this chocolate mixture cool to room temperature, so as to avoid deflating the beaten Ener-G eggs in the next step.

Note: choose a dark chocolate that's about 80% cacao for this recipe, for a bittersweet flavor.

4. Now comes the fun part.  Make 4 Ener-G eggs in a large bowl.  Beat with a hand mixer for 12 minutes - yes 12 - until the mixture is thick like egg whites.  At about the 6 minute mark, begin adding the brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat after each addition.

I'm convinced that using Ener-G in this way will be the key to vegan souffles, and am surprised that more people don't experiment with it.  I've also made Belgian waffles and individual mini souffles rise beautifully with this 12-minute-trick.

5. In a bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder.  Stir in to the chocolate mixture.

6. Gently stir one-fourth of the beaten Ener-G mixture into the chocolate mixture; fold in the remaining beaten Ener-G mixture.  Spoon into the prepared souffle dish.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes - it will be puffed up by the end, although won't quite spill over the rim of the souffle dish.  Just like a non-vegan souffle, the dessert needs to be served immediately, because it will deflate very soon once out of the oven.  Serve with the coffee ice cream on top - the ice cream will melt to make a quick sauce. 

*Coffee ice cream was my favorite flavor in my lacto-ovo vegetarian days, but I have had the hardest time finding companies that make a vegan version.  Chocolate, vanilla, mint chip, pomegranate - you name it, but nobody is churning out coffee-flavored non-dairy ice cream.  Just recently I discovered Tempt, a frozen dessert made from hemp milk, which makes a coffee biscotti flavor.  And luckily I found it just in time to make it part of tonight's dessert.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (about 2/3 cup souffle, 2 tablespoons ice cream), Calories 253 

Tasting Notes:
Delicious.  Like a cross between a rich chocolate pudding and a brownie in the middle with a top and edges that were beautifully crisped and puffed.  Next time, to make it even better, I would play up the coffee factor by increasing the amount of instant coffee granules in the batter, and serving extra coffee ice cream on top.


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