January 26, 2007

Ramekins Are So Last Year

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They look kinda cool, but didn’t turn out as well as I would have hoped. This round of Hay Hay it’s Donna Day, is being hosted by Tami of Running with Tweezers, (again! That Tami i s crafty) and she chose a theme that strikes fear into the heart of many homecooks- soufflés. I’ve only ever made soufflé once before, but it was a huge success so I didn’t think I should have any trouble. Obviously, my one success meant that I was a pro. As such, I was trying to think of a different way to do soufflé. If I was going to do something fancy, I probably should have had a recipe. Well I did, sort of. I based my creation loosely on a Roast Red Pepper Souffle recipe that I found online after googling pepper souffle. The recipe I found is supposed to be made in ramekins and it’s supposed to be made by following the directions. I did neither of those things. I decided to roast the tops of my peppers and use the bottoms for ramekins. And I sort of skipped over the beginning of the recipe because it seemed like it took too long and I already had chicken started which couldn’t wait. Using the red peppers as ramekins looked pretty, but the peppers themselves didn’t cook at the same rate as the soufflés. This is alright if you don’t mind slightly crunchy peppers, but I wasn’t overly impressed. Roasting the peppers first would have been tastier, but they then couldn’t have held my soufflés so I guess it was a trade off. The chicken was good, I used some leftover pureed roast pepper in the sauce for it, but that’s neither here nor there.

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Unfortunately my Chocolate Coconut soufflés didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped either, (made on a different night). This may have been in part due to the fact that they were the dessert that followed my favourite dinner of late. Or maybe it was because I used too many eggs yolks, not enough egg whites and I underwhipped the egg whites and overbaked the soufflés. It’s hard to do that many things wrong, but I did it with gusto. I’m including the recipe because I’m fairly certain that if I were actually to have followed it, my souffles would have turned out quite nicely. I began to stray from the recipe right off the bat. I wasn’t paying attention while I was separating my eggs and when I got to the fourth one, I cracked it too hard against the bowl and broke the yolk. To save the whites from getting any yolk in them, I basically tossed the whole eggs into the bowl with the yolks. This meant that instead of having three yolks beaten together, I had four and some egg white. And instead of whipping four egg whites, I only had three. Come to think of it, I could have just gotten another egg out of the fridge, or scooped out some of the yolk, but I didn’t think of those obvious solutions at the time. Then, while I was whipping my egg whites with a hand beater, it broke. All of a sudden the normal whirring of the motor turned into a rat-a-tat-tat machine gun sound, scarring me half to death. I was afraid the beaters were going to shoot right out of the bowl. Once again, the logical thing to do here would have been to continue whipping the whites with Wilbur, but I didn’t think of that. I broke out the hand whisk and went to work.

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Apparently I’m a huge wimp because I thought my arm was going to fall off and the egg whites still weren’t as whipped as they should have been. Again, I just powered on through, spooning the goo into my four prepared ramekins. And then I had to prepare four more ramekins because it would seem that I have the tiniest ramekins ever. Once again, if I had of stopped for two seconds to think about what I was doing, I wouldn’t have left my soufflés in the oven for the full baking time because I was fully aware that they were half the size they should have been and would therefore bake much faster. I didn’t think of that. My soufflés were dry and didn’t puff as high as they should have. They probably could have been slightly saved by a heap of chocolate sauce, but I didn’t have any. Then my brain started functioning a little bit and I recalled Ellie’s post about soufflé making, where she froze the soufflés as soon as they came out of the oven. Since I had 8 of them, I put half in the freezer. I actually liked them better the second day, but they still weren’t great.

Chocolate with a Hint of Coconut Souffle (Adapted from Stephen Cooks)

Makes 4 fairly large individual souffles

3 oz unsweetened chocolate

3 T double strength brewed coconut coffee

1 T rum

3 egg yolks, beaten lightly

4 egg whites

¼ cup sugar + 2T

Powdered sugar to dust ramekins

Preheat oven to 400º.

Butter four ramekins and dust with powdered sugar.

Heat chocolate, 1/4 cup sugar, coffee and rum over low heat, stirring, until smooth.

Off heat, stir in the egg yolks and beat a few strokes.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until medium peaks form, gradually adding the remaining sugar to the whites. Fold chocolate mixture into the beaten egg whites and spoon into the ramekins.

Bake 'till puffed, about 10 - 12 minutes.

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Katie said...

My mom used to make us whip egg whites by hand...oh the agony! Sorry to hear about all of your mishaps...but you did make me laugh right out loud and that is saying something!

K and S said...

I love the idea of using the pepper as the dish for the souffle!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that your souffles didn't make you completely happy :( If it's any consolation, both the pepper souffles and the chocolate ones look delightful!

Lis said...

Are you saying they didn't taste all that great? Because I think they look lovely - and how freakin' creative to try the pepper "ramikins!" I love that!

I ran outta time on mine.. so my dear hubby offered to make them Thursday morning while I was at work.. although delicious, they turned out flat as a pancake. And not being there when he make them I don't know what went wrong.. not a great recipe or maybe he didn't quite know how the beaten egg whites should look. Oh well.. I'll try one myself soon and see how it goes. Mebbe. I shouldn't be commenting, I have laminating to do. Out!

Anh said...

Brylinn, I understand your feelings about souffle'. I am ok making them now, but in the past it was a nightmare! Butr you red pepper souffle' does look good though!

FH said...

Pepper stuffing looks very beauiful.We make Potato and rice stuffings inside.
Souffle; never dared to try!:))

Christine said...

If you leave me your e-mail, I'll get in touch and happily send off some of those Tim-Tams!

Anonymous said...

What a novel idea to bake the souffles in pepper...so cool. Your chocolate souffles look fine to me, maybe you are being too perfectionist ;).

Kirsten said...

Soooo funny! Your "ramekins" are really, really creative.

I was laughing out loud at your egg whipping experience. I have done that exactly once and will never do again.

Honestly, both recipes look delicious.

Love your creative cooking!!

Alpineberry Mary said...

Whipping egg whites by hand is really quite a workout. I did it once and never again! I like the pepper idea - I may have to steal it from you. :)

Gattina Cheung said...

So chic your pepper bowls, love the square one :D About making a dessert, me too, have too many 'oh I could have thought of that' mistakes... argh!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Yeh! Another way to use a colorful bell pepper! I'll definitely try this one.
And since you're not totally happy with the way the chocolate souffles came out, I'd be happy to take them off your hands!:)
I'm glad I saw your name on several posts this morning and paid you a visit. You have a fantastic site!

Food "Blogga"

Elizabeth said...

What a cool idea to use peppers as the containers for the souffle! And I wonder if you could have your cake and eat it too... prebake the pepper shells and then somehow prop them up in ramekins (even though they are so last year...) and fill the pepper shells with the souffle.


P.S. I can't tell you how much I admire this phrase: "It's hard to do that many things wrong, but I did it with gusto." Bravissima!!

Anonymous said...

I love the pepper souffle idea. Very cool!

I bet your hand was about to fall off after whipping those egg whites. I was whipping egg whites with my immersion blender whisk attachment the other day and thought my hand would fall off just from holding down the button! I'm a wimp compared to you.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What an abosolutely inspired idea with the peppers!
I think you might try spinning right three times, left three times and clicking your heels and get out from under whatever strange cloud of mishap that has attached it's self to you. But you really did have me laughing!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the pepper souffle containers! What a wonderful idea! Even if your souffles didn't turn out the way you wished, I still think they look great :)

I can't get over the souffle in the pepper...ingenius! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey there Brilynn, the pepper ramekins are a good idea. Another good idea though is to use half a coconut as your ramekin for the chocolate/coconut souffle! I have done vanilla/coconut creme brulees in coconut shells, and this souffle may work as well in there for a great presentation.

Wonderful post, and beautiful results!

Rachel Rubin said...

Yum, yum, yum! They both look great but I'm super impressed by the pepper. I bet by cooking the souffle stuffed in there it really cut down on some of the richness. Sounds perfect!

Barbara said...

Sorry they didn't taste the best Brilyn but the look sensational.Thanks for joing HHDD#9