Monday, February 14, 2011
It didn’t take long before I knew that one of my (then-boyfriend, now-husband) Joe’s favorite foods was almonds. He ate them by the handful.
“I love almonds too” I said thinking simultaneously,-- another similarity we share. We’re destined to be, I thought.
“And what’s your favorite dessert?” I asked that first Valentine’s Day we were together.
“Almond and chocolate soufflé!” he said.
“Oh, great!” I said but I didn’t really mean it. I didn’t have a recipe for chocolate almond souffle. But hey, I’m a chef, I’ve written 17 cookbooks, I can write a recipe. And that’s what I did… After all, it was Valentine’s Day and you’re supposed to go all out for the one you love.
I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. I grew up with a tradition of celebrating it. My mother always gave me a little gift, whether it was little candy hearts with words like “kiss me,” “love me,” and “forever.” Or a pair of gloves or a potted plant of her mother’s ivy. Every year it was something just to let me know she loved me.
And with that in mind, I share my recipes for Chocolate Almond Soufflé!
Oh, I forgot to mention… He ate the whole soufflé!
CHOCOLATE ALMOND SOUFFLE WITH COCOA-NIB CREAM
3 tablespoons cocoa nibs
1 cup heavy cream
Sliced and toasted almonds, finely chopped
12 ounces excellent quality 70% chocolate, chopped
1 1/ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/ 2 cup milk
5 egg yolks
1/ 4 teaspoon pure almond extract
6 egg whites, room temperature
1/ 2 cup granulated sugar
Place the cocoa nibs and the heavy cream in a saucepan. Bring to a scald. Remove from the heat immediately and let sit 1 hour. Strain and place in the refrigerator.
Butter eight 5 to 6-ounce ramekins. Dust lightly with almonds. Set aside.
Place the chocolate, butter and milk in the top of a double boiler over boiling water. Whisk until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Add the almond extract and stir together.
Preheat an oven to 375 ̊ F. Place the egg whites in a large clean bowl and whip to soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually and beat until they are very stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins. This can be done several hours in advance.
When you are ready to serve, bake the soufflés in the oven until puffed and cracked on top, 14 to 17 minutes. While the soufflés are baking, whip the cream and confectioner’s sugar until soft peaks. Place in a bowl.
To serve, with a spoon, open the center of the soufflé and spoon the cream into the center.