Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dark Chocolate souffle with Raspberries, plus Posadas!

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I have a deliciously easy souffle recipe that has an extra dash of summer. Right in the middle of December, it was a real bright spot for our entertaining!
You'll need:
7TBS sugar
1 cup raspberries
5 TBS unsalted butter
6 oz good chocolate
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 large eggs, plus two more egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
powdered sugar for dusting

YUMMY. The kids wanted to gobble these so badly, but I was strong and sent them away. (But they did get the leftovers.)
Gratuitous chocolate picture. I'm a Lindt fan, so I just picked up a bar at the grocery store.
Melt the butter and chocolate over medium-low heat. When it's all melted, add the vanilla. Butter the ramekins and preheat the oven to 375F.
Beat the egg yolks and 3 TBS of sugar on medium speed until thick and fluffy.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs yolks.
Whip the eggs whites into stiff peaks with the pinch of salt and cream of tartar, adding the 3 TBS of sugar near the end. Carefully fold the egg whites and chocolate together.
Fold the chocolate and the egg yolk mixture together.
I know, there's a lot of folding and beating, but not in that order. I think the key to a good souffle is understanding that the beating is serious business. And the folding is serious business. And never the twain shall meet...
Until the ramekin. Here 'tis, filled with sugared raspberries. It's been buttered, and then dusted with sugar. Mmmmm.... I could eat it just like this. A bite of chocolate, a bite of raspberry. That's all. But that's not very festive and the guests might appreciate more of a presentation. We'll keep the chocolate/raspberry noshing to visits with good friends.
So, spoon (not beat or fold, that's a relief) the mixture into the ramekin.
Run your finger along the edge. This makes it form that little "top hat" when it's cooking. So much prettier. And remember, we're trying to be presentable. Little known fact: souffles can be chilled in the fridge for up to one whole day. So, this is a good dessert to pop into the oven while everyone is having their main course (and you're not standing in the kitchen). Then they come out pretty and warm and ready...
Set the ramekins in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. You can poke the top to see if it's done, but with the raspberries inside, it's hard to tell, so it's best to wiggle them a little and see if the center jiggles. If it's puffed up and the center jiggles just a little, they're done!
Don't overcook. They'll still be edible, but the edges will be harder and crustier. We want light and fluffy.
And a picture of the bottom layer. I thought the raspberries might not cook enough but the were perfectly melded into the chocolate. What a pairing!


Now, Susanna reminded me of this tradition we have here, called Posadas. From the 16th to the 24th, children walk a certain route in the neighborhood, singing a song that remembers Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem. Usually there are two kids dressed up, but sometimes they're all dressed up in different costumes. They go door to door, singing a song, which you can listen to here (the singing isn't great, but just focus on the words). That clip also translates the words and shows some of the costumes. So CUTE. The outside crowd sings on stanza, and the inside crowd sings another. The last house on the route is the host and they finally open the door an everyone comes in for spiced hot chocolate, or takes some to go.

   On the last day, the last stop is the church and we have our Christmas Eve celebration, with a pinata in the parish hall and lots of games  It's great fun and a really neat way to educate the kids on the birth of Jesus and how hard it was for his parents even though they had faith, like a walking tour of the nativity.

(Christmas throwback: I love this picture of my girls because of my oldest's expression! ha!)

Okay, I hope everyone is having a wonderful Advent! Next week I'll either re-run my step-mother's Croatian nut roll (which I need to make... right now) or the famous Aplets and Cotlets of the Northwest. I love them both. Hmmm.... decisions!


  1. Yay for chocolate! This looks so elegant, but not too hard. Just the thing for a special occasion!

    And Posadas sounds like a neat tradition, and a great way to celebrate Christmas. I'm sure the children have a wonderful time - especially looking forward to the treats at the end of the evening!

    But next week - do me a favor and don't choose. Do one next weekend and one the weekend after. I absolutely love Aplets and Cotlets, and I'm looking forward to that recipe! But I remember the post about your step-mother's Croatian nut roll - mmmm...... Don't skip either one!

    1. It really is so easy! And I've made it both ways- fresh an all at once, and another time after chilling for about 5 hours until it was the end of a meal. Both times worked well.

  2. I'm with Jan, repeat both! Yes, I could go look it up, but honestly, I bet folks will love seeing them just show up before them!!!!

    THE GIRLS ARE SO ADORABLE!!!! Love the dresses, love the looks and what a blessing. Oh, I love kids, I love being around kids, and I love the rapt audience of kids for my nonsense.

    The grown up varieties don't appreciate my penchant for drama/goofiness/expression.

    Silly them!!!!

    Thank you for this post! I've never done individual souffles, I wouldn't have thought of it! Love it! And now I'm thinking I need creme brulee in a ramekin.

    I just like saying ramekin.

    1. *snort* Who was it one year who asked what a ramekin was? I don't remember. But for a moment I thought, "Did I use the wrong language?" (Or where you're saying one word and thinking another.) And then I thought about "ramekin" so much it started to sound ALL WRONG, and then I had to Google to reassure myself that I hadn't gone completely around the bend.

      And I'm all about individual portions. That keeps older kids from eating seconds, and younger kids love their own dishes. It also keeps me from "tasting" my way through a serving. Kind of hard to hide an empty ramekin (there it is again).

  3. I deliberately did not buy the Chocolate Raspberry tart at the French bakery for my birthday because I knew you were posting this. YUM and a half. And so light.

    Posadas are big here but mainly as a big celebration involving entire communities and a parade. Our Methodist Book of Worship actually has songs and scripts for churches who want to do them. Such fun and worshipful and educational, all in one.

    Hope this week of Advent joy ahead is a good one for you.

    1. I've been Methodist for most of my life and have never heard of this service! Virginia (and Susanna and Julie) thanks for educating me! I'll check out the Book of Worship.

    2. Yes, but Julie... this is ONLINE.YOU CAN'T EAT IT. lol

      Aren't you allergic to eggs? Or is that my friend Christalee? It's so hard to navigate cooking/ holidays with allergies but at least you can see what goes into this one. And no nuts in the crust, which French tarts can have if it's an almond crust and no just a brisee.

    3. Missy, my college roommate is Methodist and hadn't heard of it either until this last year when one of her kids learned about it in school. I think it just depends on region and history. We certainly don't have a parade. It's just a little community thing with neighbors and local kids, but the songs are very old... and the hot chocolate is DELICIOUS. That Mexican cinnamon hot chocolate that's whole milk and real chocolate. YUMMY

    4. Oh, and my friend's husband is an artist, but two of his brothers are Methodist ministers, his dad is a retired Methodist minister and both grandfathers were Methodist ministers. So... It's not as if she didn't know her traditions. Again, I think it just depends on what your community celebrates.

  4. I didn't know what a ramekin was until you educated me, Virginia! And now you've educated me again because I had no idea there was such a thing as dessert soufflés. Honestly, y'all are going to turn me into a master chef here at the café.

    I had heard of posadas though. Love that tradition. And the sense of community it brings. Enjoy this busyness of the season with your family, Virginia.

    1. IT WAS KAV. Now we'll remember that moment forever. :)

      I didn't have a sweet soufflés until I lived in France. When I was growing up, it was all cheese or spinach or cheese and spinach.

  5. Lindt dark chocolate. I speak it fluently. Thank you.

    1. I just ordered those Lindt truffle balls for our snowman cookie jar. It's a tradition... instead of cookies year round, we bring out our old snoman jar and he holds truffles.
      I also put in raspberry dark chocolate flavor for the first time.... not really sure how it would be. I stick to the four or five regular varieties. I don't want to be stuck with some flavor no one will eat.
      OH MY GOODNESS. Unbelievable. So delicious. I should never have doubted Lindt.

  6. I'm taking a quick break from baking and am now excited to try making a soufflé!! I've never done one and think maybe I can handle it with your directions, Virginia! :)

    I love that photo of the girls. Somehow, I can just imagine that same look on your face. :)

    1. I think it'll be super easy for you, Missy, since you're a versatile cook. I'm still learning the stages of whipped egg whites. But I think I might have under whipped these and it still came out ok.

      And yes, that one on the left... that expression comes directly from me. The "are you kidding me?" face.