Recipe: Didier Leroy’s impossibly airy chocolate soufflé
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
BAKE TIME: 18 minutes
½-1 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp cocoa powder
8 oz 70% chocolate, chopped
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups 2% milk
3 tbsp cornstarch
1. Bring a kettle to a boil for a bain-marie (see step 6). Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 8 ramekins with butter, then dust with cocoa.
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Let cool.
3. Separate eggs. Place 4 yolks in a bowl and all 6 whites in another bowl. Save remaining yolks for another use. Using an electric or stand mixer, beat egg whites with sugar for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Cover and set aside.
4. Pour milk into a small saucepan. Whisk in cornstarch. Bring to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally for 1 to 2 minutes until the first bubble pops. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate. Whisk in some of the yolks, but be careful not to scramble. Scrape mixture back into yolk bowl and gently fold in prepared egg whites.
5. Divide soufflé mixture between prepared ramekins.
6. For the bain-marie, place ramekins in a large baking dish. Place in centre of oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the baking dish until it is halfway up the outside of the ramekins. Take care not to splash the soufflés.
7. Bake for 18 to 26 minutes until soufflés rise and are fluffy on top. To test, insert a cake skewer very carefully into the centre of one soufflé—it should come out only slightly moist. Dust with icing sugar. Serve immediately.
Buy Valrhona Guanaja in bars at most gourmet food shops. You can also find it in bulk as fèves (small coins) at Domino Foods on the lower level of the St. Lawrence Market. 92 Front St. E., 416-366-2178.
At Didier, the midtown bistro that closed last August, Didier Leroy made Toronto’s best soufflé—a dessert that’s as sweet and bouncy as a cancan dancer. The Parisian chef learned the recipe from his brother six years ago and has been perfecting its perilous execution ever since. The trick to getting it light and airy is a deft, gentle hand when folding in the egg whites. The secret to the standout flavour is Leroy’s slavish devotion to top-tier ingredients—in this case, Valrhona’s beguilingly rich Grand Cru Guanaja dark chocolate (see tip).