Friday 22 February 2008

Recipe: Chocolate Crêpes with Chocolate Soufflé

How times change! I remember first doing this recipe many years ago, and thinking it was terribly complicated and susceptible to all sorts of things going wrong along the way, and in fact being the sort of dish that has one hovering anxiously beside the oven, and feeling really quite surprised when it is finally plated and served without disaster....

A couple of evenings ago, I found myself taking refuge in it, instead, as one of those "Oh God - it's seven o'clock and nothing yet sorted for dessert" events. The Crêpes were leftovers that had been stored in the freezer (NB: I discovered recently from reading Craig Claiborne that crêpes freeze fantastically well - just put them in a ziplock bag, with no special packing required; always make many more than you need at the time, and freeze the rest for just such an occasion as this). All of the other ingredients were sitting around, available for use - and I got over thinking of soufflés as delicate and fragile things a long time ago!

With the Crêpes already made, the best way to deal with this is to make the soufflé base before you start dinner, then whisk the egg whites and make the soufflé mixture and assemble the Crêpes and bake them after you've cleared the main course. The secret is to make sure that the baking sheet is thoroughly greased and non-stick, so that you don't find you're faffing around at the point of serving and risk either the soufflé deflating or the whole thing getting bashed out of shape.

For Two.

Crêpe Ingredients: 1 egg; 30g chocolate powder; 65g plain flour; 200 ml milk; 50ml cream

Soufflé Ingredients: 50g plain chocolate: 4 Egg Whites; 2 oz sugar (or equivalent volume Splenda); 1 teaspoon Praline Paste (if you have it; if not it won't matter if you leave it out.)


1. Place all of the Crêpe ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed for twenty seconds. Leave to rest for thirty minutes before use.

2. Using an oiled crêpe pan over high heat, make crêpes from the chocolate batter. The proportions given are sufficient for 5-6 crêpes; reserve the unwanted ones for a different dessert on the following day (filled with whipped cream and raspberries they are excellent!), or else freeze them for future use. Set the crêpes aside once they are done, covered in cling film to prevent them drying out.

3. Melt the Chocolate together with the Praline Paste in a zimmertopf or in a bowl over hot water.

4. Heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

5. Whisk the Egg Whites until firm, then add the sugar/sweetener and continue to whisk until stiff.

6. Stir a little of the beaten Egg White into the melted Chocolate to lighten it, then fold the Chocolate mixture back into the body of the beaten Egg White.

7. On a very well greased (or sprayed with Trennwax) baking sheet, lay a crêpe and spoon two generous spoonfuls of soufflé mixture into the centre of one half of it; with a palette knife, flip the other half of the Crêpe over on top of the soufflé mixture, so that it is a neat semi-circle filled with the soufflé mixture. Repeat with the second Crêpe.

8. Bake in the pre-heated oven. Without a ramekin to slow the cooking process, these will be done quite quickly, and you should check them after 3-4 minutes to see if they have risen sufficiently. In my experience, they will have done.

To serve, sprinkle the Crêpes with icing sugar, then lift them from the baking tray with a palette knife, and serve on heated plates.

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