Monday, January 11, 2010

Les Joies du Chocolat-- sans Peur!

Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake Simple French Desserts, by Jill O'Connor, 2000

My very good friends Jocelin and Marlie are off to Paris for a jaunt on Wednesday. My other friend and I decided this is an occasion for a little party to show them a proper send off. Jocelin's husband, a former restaurant chef, is taking care of making dinner therefore I offered to make dessert!
I love baking with melted chocolate, its so satisfying. The cake is just one large soufflé as opposed to smaller individual ones which are most often seen in restaurants. O'Connor gives tips on "Fearless Folding" following this recipe in her book which got me to thinking about fear & baking/cooking. Most people who don't cook or pronounce that they cannot cook probably have never done it much and are too afraid to try. Like many of the current eldest generation who fear the computer because they secretly believe they may break it, people who find themselves too afraid to cook are probably afraid they'll get someone sick or light the house on fire! But being fearless is one of the greatest assets a cook can possess. Even in terms of tasting, a fearless taster will develop a wider range of ingredients to select and cook with. The beauty of cooking is that you can always try again. You won't lose all your tools, or even all of the ingredients and every time you screw up a recipe you learn something new! Whether that something new is a more obvious thing such as not to put plastic in the oven or a new trick for next time you make the recipe, you're better equipped to do it again. Soufflés seem difficult or challenging, but all it takes is an understanding of how to make them and the patience to let their beauty rise. Folding is a simple technique and can be mastered in one correct blending. It is the respect of the egg whites you so aggressively beat into those stiff peaks that mustn't deflate when folding, when spooning the mixture into the pan (as opposed to pouring it where it will be toppling all over itself and de-poufing left and right), and when placing and removing the souffle from the oven.

Baking is truly an art and I am happy to be an aspiring artist.

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