The Virgin Soufflés

In the last podcast I mentioned I'd been emulating George Costanza and doing The Opposite. In one of my favourite Seinfeld episodes George decided his instincts were crap and decided to say and do the opposite of what he would usually do. It has been a sometimes fun sometimes awful experiment!

One thing I tried was a life coaching session. Life coaching is something I was always cynical and dismissive about but it proved mind-bogglingly helpful. I've been dealing with Deep Stuff these past couple of months so a more practical session felt great.

I was given a wee bit of homework to, "do something that I've wanted to do for a long time but never made the time to do". Of course I had a handy list of full of such things, and decided on lucky 13… Make A Soufflé.

Yeah baby! This would be ultimate metaphor… the rising soufflé! The edible phoenix rising from the ashes!

I settled on this Easy Chocolate Soufflé, as easy and chocolate are two of my favourite words. It was also less OTT than most recipes at 222 calories per serve.  I thought that sounded reasonable for a sweet treat and should prevent too many people sending cranky emails that I was ruining their life with my chocolate talk.

So I separated the eggs and made the base then whisked the whites like a mofo. It was so bloody simple and enjoyable and as always with these little things you put off, I thought… Why did I pissfart around for so long?

Now this is what it was supposed to look like:

Good-souffle
(image used with permission)

And here's what mine looked like:

Souffle-flop

A flat and lifeless FLOP. Two little farts in two little dishes! Let's not go down the metaphor road with these specimens.

Och well. At least they were tasty and I enjoyed the process. I'll attempt again in the future but there is no "OMG must analyse why I FAILED and spend three weeks researching perfect souffle techniques" sense of urgency.

Hmm… I have no deep and meaningful end to this entry for you as it's two weeks since I started writing it and the train of thought has chuffed off into the distance. Basically I'm having fun doing The Opposite and mucking along with life. Any soufflé cooks out there? Any favourite soufflé recipes?

EASY CHOCOLATE SOUFFLÉ

Serves: 4
Source: RealEpicurean

100g/3.5 oz good quality dark chocolate
50g/1.75 oz golden caster sugar
4 egg whites
2 egg yolks
10g/0.3 oz butter

  1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C (300°F)
  2. Rub the inside of four ramekins with butter. Set aside.
  3. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of heating water.  This will allow chocolate to melt without burning; stir it to help the process along.
  4. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl. Start off slowly, speeding up once the eggs start to thicken. Now slowly pour in the sugar while continuing to whisk. Stop once the eggs form a glossy, thick mix which forms fairly stiff peaks.
  5. By this time your chocolate should be melted. Take off the heat and mix in the egg yolks, then stir in one spoon of your egg white mix.
  6. Add the chocolate mix into the remaining egg whites. Slowly fold until combined, being careful not to knock out too much air.
  7. Spoon into the ramekins and smooth the edges with your thumb (this helps them rise evenly).
  8. Put the ramekins in the oven for 25 minutes.  Don’t open while they’re cooking or they’ll collapse.

Per souffle: 222.8 calories. Click here to see the nutrition facts.   Souffle-stats

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41 thoughts on “The Virgin Soufflés

  1. I wonder if your souffle cup was too big? It looks scrummy and I don’t think I would complain if one magically appeared in front of me right now. Now I’m wishing one *would* magically appear. Dern you and your chocolate talk!

  2. Glad to hear the souffles tasted good.

    I’ve never tempted to make one so can’t offer any advice.

    Good on you for trying though.

  3. @Nicole – sending one to you now over the waves… here it comes!

    @TK – No advice needed! tis just me having a random ramble.
    As I seem to bloody do lately :D

    Sorry the blog has been so random folks! I am all over the shop!

  4. Shauna,

    It’s possible that you overmixed the whites into the chocolate and yolks, collapsing the air in the meringue. I also agree with Nicole, your souffle ramikins may have been too big. BTW the souffle will begin to fall immediately after you take it out of the oven.
    Don’t you be deflated,,,, do it again. Next time I’m sure it will be perfect!

  5. Thanks for the advice guys :) I'm not sure that the souffle dishes were too big because they were full to the brim when I put the goo in… any smaller and the goo would have not fit in the ramekins. overmixing the whites sounds very likely though!

  6. I think it’s great to try new things. I love that you’re intentionally doing the opposite of what you’d normally do. Genius! That’s the only way to shake life up and get some pleasant surprises. :) I’m also doing that – sort of. I’m saying YES to things I normally wouldn’t and it’s been opening my life up to new things in a very cool way. We are the choosers of our own destiny.

  7. I am often cynical about things like life-coaching but I started reading Suzy Greave’s blog after enjoying her monthly columns in Health & Fitness magazine. I find her quite practically useful and thought provoking without going into crystal waving or whatever. Last year I went to a retreat she organised which included life coaching, hypnotherapy and yoga. It was a lovely weekend and I was at rock bottom in my life and left feeling like I was walking in the clouds. I was annoyingly positive for several weeks afterwards, which everyone noticed. Personally I think it was the hypnotherapy (An expat Aussie called Georgia Foster if anyone is wondering) that helped the most. I’ve gradually come back down over the months and can really see the difference from when I was on the post-retreat high. Need another boost!

    Not sure what I meant to say here – I suppose just that whatever works for you is worthwhile and it is a good idea to try something new now and again.

  8. I could use a few weeks of upbeat, excessive positivity, Sandra. :)
    I vote for probable overmixing the post-beating egg whites (my goodness that sounds naughty), but I warn you that lesser geeks are questioning my authority lately in favour of the internet, so perhaps a grain of salt is a better option (actually, useful both for adding flavour to chocolate things and assisting in beating egg whites, I think. Go with the salt). :)

  9. I’ve had times in my life where I’ve followed George’s advice and done the opposite. It’s always been a good strategy for changing my mood, getting out of a funk and more generally challenging the assumptions and routines of what I do. Well done you.

    One of the best things about souffles is that even when they do go wrong, they still taste great. More a chocolate pudding than a chocolate souffle.

  10. @Sue – alas no souffe serving restaurants in these parts, since you cannae deep-fry a souffle ;)

    (or at least they haven't tried… yet!)

  11. The George Costanza Opposite approach is something I’ve done for years, especially when I’m suffering from the never-ending attack of Low Self Esteem. It helps me suck it up and get some confidence back to do what other people seem to do effortlessly. It’s always work but it always helps me.

    I’m glad your chocolate was tasty even if it didn’t look like the picture :)

  12. Maybe I should apply the opposite theory to men… it’s got to work better than what i’m doing!

    LOL at souffles. I’ve never made one but whenever my sister or I get unexpected money, we say “let’s get souffles”. Not that we ever do it just seems the most extravagent, unnecessary thing you could buy with unexpected money. I guess that’s another souffle metaphor :D

  13. How did you locate the life coach? I’ve been thinking my husband might benefit, as he’s finishing his degree and spinning about a bit trying to decide what to do next.

    I was at a bar on St Patrick’s Day (shocker), and they had a framed poster of George Costanza reclining seductively on a chaise, in boxers, socks & shoes. Classy!

  14. Random works. You’re an entertaining writer so you could go on about asphalt and I would still read.

    I think there must have been static on the line because I never did get my souffle, drat it.

  15. I think Sarah B’s advice about the grain of salt is the ticket. My old Gran used to say that one should take most of life with a grain of salt!

  16. I have only made perfect souffle once. Frustratingly it was when I was a teenager and I’d only made it because I was bored. (That shows you what sort of teenager I was: other kids took drugs or ripped up bus shelters – I made chocolate souffle. God, I want to go back in time and slap me…) It has never worked since, so I fear I’ve used up my one shot, and nobody ate it except me. (It was supposed to be for my parents too but I’d eaten it all by the time they got home, the shame.)

  17. You crack me up SoupDragon :) I would have been the sort of teeanger who made souffles instead
    of taking drugs too… but my parents wouldn't have let me have the sugar!
    Mwahahaaaa.

  18. Yes, don’t overwhisk the whites and then be very gentle when you fold in the rest of the mixture with a metal spoon. Also your bowl you whisk the eggwhite in must be absolutely scrupulously clean and bone dry. Could be fun practising!

    love
    Peridot

  19. Bwahahaha, “don’t you be deflated”! Added humor! I’ve nothing to add to the cooking advice, since I’ve never attempted a souffle, but good on ya for trying. And tastiness kicks presentation’s arse in my book. Maybe not when Gordon Ramsay’s peering over your shoulder, though.

  20. I want to bake with you. It might be a disaster, but it would be a FUN disaster :D

    I’ve never attempted souffles before. They always looked too intimidating. Now I know what’s being added to my list of things to try making!

  21. But darrrrrrling* you’re not supposed to go to a local restaurant to try a souffle. One is supposed to go to a restaurant Paris!**

    I give you props for even trying to do one of those dang things. Don’t you have to make sure the oven is at precisely the right temperature and there are no earthquakes and Jupiter is in the 7th house of whoosie and all that stuff before a souffle will come out right?

    *just picture those r’s being rolled, okay?
    ** yeah, well, even if it ain’t practical, it sounded good. Like most of my plans.

  22. You crack me up Shauna with the idea that ‘if you can’t deep-fry it you won’t find it in a restaurant near you’.

    I would imagine people would like to try. Crispy on the outside and airy in the middle. Oh! It’s been done! Maltesers, aero bars etc:)

    TK

  23. Don’t use eggs straight out of the fridge – don’t know why, just something my dad swore by! Goddamn i wanna make a souffle now!

  24. The absolute best and easiest souffle-type recipe I’ve ever made is Nigella Lawson’s gooey chocolate pudding. Five ingredients (chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar, flour) and voila… molten middle (I’m talking about the pudding, not my own!)

  25. Here ya go my darlin…how to make a perfect souffle…it’s all about technique (i’ve also heard having the luxury of copper mixing bowls to beat your eggwhites can help too):
    link to ehow.com

    Good luck! :)

  26. Great blog! The souffle looks amazing!

    I started a blog that I think you might like too. It combines fashion and giving back to charities. Each week, I will give away 1 Lilly Pulitzer dress (this week it’s the Pink Adelson Shift from Spring 2010) to one lucky follower, who raises awareness of the blog’s selected charity through various ways such as tweeting about it or commenting with an interesting fact. I am currently also giving away some great Lilly stationary items too. Please check out my blog because doing good is chic!

    Love,
    Jane

  27. At least you tried something new. I would to try to make a soufflé, you are very brave!!! At least they still tasted good!
    Way to go!!!

  28. a god-damned chocolate souffle life analogy on thursday…amazing. i cannot state enuff HOW much you totally rock…plain and bloody simple. bring it on shauna–bring it on!!!LOL!

  29. Say…I’d be interested in hearing more about the life coaching. You’ve already given us Julia ja CardioCoach, surely this must be awesome as well ;) Seriously though, I’d be really interested in hearing about your experiences and if you found it helpful.

    -Sari

  30. I love that episode! I think I would find it difficult deciding what exactly My Opposite would be, sometimes it’s hard enough figuring out what I really want. *lol* So hooray to you for knowing that! :o)

    Oh, soufflés. The first one I ever made was -perfect-, and the few ones after that were unhappy flat lumps. I guess it’s like any new exercise/sports, once you think too much and try to get it right, you’re getting worse ;o)

    And I would like to second what Sari asked… Life coach? How would that go? One session and all your skills, goals, wants, needs and so on are identified, insert angel choir, parting clouds and bright sunlight here? I’m curious!

  31. I love you so much, Shauna. I am having flashbacks my own ‘Crepe Escape’. I tried sooo hard…. :D XXX

  32. CHEERS you groovers!

    Trillie & Sari-Anna – thanks for asking about the life coaching, I should write about that soon! :)

  33. Hey Shauna,
    That’s great you tried something new!!! It doesn’t matter if they turned out or not (i’m pretty sure the calories remain the same, sadly….) but it was great you went out of your comfort zone!

    I love 43 things too… I’ve been doing some serious list-crossing-offing lately and doesn’t it feel great??? Now, you need one more new one to go up on the list!!! What’s it gonna be???