Chocolate Souffle with Hazelnut & Pear

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By Darren Purchese

A real winter warmer and not as difficult as you might think. There are a few components here so try to work in the best possible order to give yourself the greatest chance of success.

The souffle has a base of crunchy hazelnut praline, chunks of poached pear and once cooked it is topped off with a pear sorbet, pear crisp and a hot chocolate sauce that may or may not have an alcoholic kick to it! Really great dish to present at a dinner party, it will knock the socks off your guests. Below are the recipes for all the components including the chocolate souffle base. The base makes more than you need, (you only need 60 g of souffle base to make 6 souffles) but it is difficult to make a small batch so any left-over souffle base can be used in something else*.

Other components here, such as hazelnut praline, sorbet and pear crisps, can all be added to your dessert building block repertoire and used independently. The souffle is dead easy and works well in a churner or one of those ninja blender things.

I suggest getting all prep done including the brushing of your moulds and then make the souffle base. The base can be made well in advance (say 6 hours) and you can whip your whites and assemble your souffles around an hour ahead of baking as long as you store them in the fridge but we would recommend whipping your whites and baking as soon as possible.

Good luck and don’t be scared.

Helpful recipes:

Sugar Syrup 1-1

Hazelnut Praline

Pear Sorbet

Pear Crisp

Hot Chocolate & Frangelico Sauce

* Try smoothing out excess souffle base using a spatula or machine and folding in whipped cream for a chocolate diplomat cream. Use this cream in desserts, as a layer in a cake or to fill an éclair.

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Time

24

hour

0

minutes

Degree of Difficulty

Medium

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Portions

6
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Ingredients

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CHOCOLATE & HAZELNUT POWDER

75g dark chocolate, block or buttons
25g hazelnut meal

POACHED PEARS (FOR SORBET & SOUFFLE)

4 whole pears, firm and ripe
400g caster sugar
750g water
1 whole vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped
½ lemon, juice

PEAR SORBET

250g poached pear flesh (see above)
250g poached pear syrup (see above)

CARAMELISED HAZELNUTS

65g hazelnuts, blanched and toasted
100g caster sugar
35g water

PEAR CRISPS

1 whole pear, ripe and firm
100g sugar syrup 1-1

CHOCOLATE & FRANGELICO SAUCE

75g cream, thickened
75g milk
20g caster sugar
100g dark chocolate, buttons or block chopped into coarse pieces
15g Frangelico hazelnut liqueur (optional)

CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE BASE

20g caster sugar
30g cocoa powder
30g cornflour
 pinch salt
250 pinch milk

SOUFFLE FORMULA

60g chocolate souffle base, (see above)
220g egg whites, (approx. 6 – 8 egg whites)
100g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter, softened
100g chocolate & hazelnut powder
100g chocolate & hazelnut powder

TO SERVE

 icing sugar, to dust
6 pear sorbet, scoops
285g chocolate & frangelico sauce
6g pear crisps
1

For the chocolate & hazelnut powder… grate or blend the dark chocolate to a fine powder. Add the hazelnut meal and mix well. Set aside in the fridge.

 

2

For the poached pears… peel the pears and remove the core using a melon baller. Place the sugar, water, vanilla and lemon into a medium sized saucepan and heat to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add the pears and turn the heat low to simmer. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until the pears are soft enough for you to insert a paring knife into the flesh. Turn the heat off and allow them to cool in the syrup.

 

3

For the caramelised hazelnuts… in a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over a medium heat. Bring to a boil and continue to cook to a deep amber caramel. Remove from the heat and immediately add the nuts, stir well and quickly pour the praline onto a silicone mat spreading it out thinly. When it is cold, break into small pieces and use a knife to chop into coarse pieces. Store in a sealed container until needed.

 

4

For the pear sorbet… blend the pear flesh and syrup together and set in a sealed freezer container or in a container for a Ninja style ice cream blender. If doing these steps, freeze for a minimum of 24 hours.

Three ways to churn this...

  1. In a conventional ice cream churner.
  2. Blended in a Ninja style ice cream churner.
  3. Frozen in large ice cubes trays and blended in a high speed blender.

Store the churned/blended sorbet in the freezer until ready to serve.

 

5

For the pear crisps… use a mandolin to slice the pear into wafer thin slices. Dip each slice in the sugar syrup 1-1, and place the soaked slices onto a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate the slices at 80C until dry and crispy. This step can be done in the oven if you don’t have a dehydrator. Line a baking tray with paper or a silicone mat and dry in an oven preheated to 80C, this will probably take up to 8 hours.

 

6

For the chocolate sauce… place the cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate or chocolate buttons. Stir to a smooth sauce and add the Frangelico to taste, serve immediately.

 

7

For the chocolate souffle base… place the cold milk in a small, heavy-based saucepan. Add sifted sugar, cornflour, cocoa powder and salt, and cook over medium heat. Whisk the mixture constantly until smooth. Bring to a bubble and reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking until thick. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour before removing from the fridge.

 

8

Pre heat the oven… to a temperature of 190C.

 

9

Prepare the souffle moulds… use a pastry brush to brush 6 x 200 ml souffle moulds with softened butter, stroking upwards. Add the chocolate and hazelnut powder to one mould, rotating it to coat the insides, then tip excess into the next mould and repeat, until all six moulds are lightly coated.

 

10

Add pear to each mould… cut a poached pear into quarters and remove any core. Chop into large chunks and evenly distribute in the four prepared moulds. Add a tablespoon of hazelnut praline to the moulds on top of the pear.

 

11

To make the meringue… place the weighed egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl of an electric stand mixer and whisk on high for a minute until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar in three stages, using a tablespoon, while continuing to whisk. Whisk the meringue until it’s glossy and stiff.

 

12

To mix the souffle… weigh out 60 g of the chocolate souffle mix and put it into a large mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, work the mix until it is pliable.

 

13

Add one-third of the meringue… and combine until smooth using the spatula. Once the one third has been completely amalgamated you can gently fold in remaining meringue.

 

14

Spoon the souffle mixture… into the prepared moulds halfway up. Add more souffle mix to each mould and over fill to use up all the mix.

 

15

Smooth over… with a palette knife, scraping the surfaces flat and discarding any excess mix. Run the tip of your thumb around the top edge to form a slight collar on each souffle. Make sure the moulds are clean.

 

16

To cook the souffles… place on a tray on the middle shelf of the oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until the souffles have risen 3 cm above the lip. Dust with icing sugar, cut a small hole in the centre of the surface with a teaspoon and pour in some chocolate sauce. Serve with the pear sorbet and add the pear crisp. Serve immediately.

 

1
0 hours 0 minutes

For the chocolate & hazelnut powder… grate or blend the dark chocolate to a fine powder. Add the hazelnut meal and mix well. Set aside in the fridge.

2
0 hours 0 minutes

For the poached pears… peel the pears and remove the core using a melon baller. Place the sugar, water, vanilla and lemon into a medium sized saucepan and heat to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add the pears and turn the heat low to simmer. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until the pears are soft enough for you to insert a paring knife into the flesh. Turn the heat off and allow them to cool in the syrup.

3
0 hours 0 minutes

For the caramelised hazelnuts… in a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over a medium heat. Bring to a boil and continue to cook to a deep amber caramel. Remove from the heat and immediately add the nuts, stir well and quickly pour the praline onto a silicone mat spreading it out thinly. When it is cold, break into small pieces and use a knife to chop into coarse pieces. Store in a sealed container until needed.

4
0 hours 0 minutes

For the pear sorbet… blend the pear flesh and syrup together and set in a sealed freezer container or in a container for a Ninja style ice cream blender. If doing these steps, freeze for a minimum of 24 hours.

Three ways to churn this...

  1. In a conventional ice cream churner.
  2. Blended in a Ninja style ice cream churner.
  3. Frozen in large ice cubes trays and blended in a high speed blender.

Store the churned/blended sorbet in the freezer until ready to serve.

5
0 hours 0 minutes

For the pear crisps… use a mandolin to slice the pear into wafer thin slices. Dip each slice in the sugar syrup 1-1, and place the soaked slices onto a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate the slices at 80C until dry and crispy. This step can be done in the oven if you don’t have a dehydrator. Line a baking tray with paper or a silicone mat and dry in an oven preheated to 80C, this will probably take up to 8 hours.

6
0 hours 0 minutes

For the chocolate sauce… place the cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate or chocolate buttons. Stir to a smooth sauce and add the Frangelico to taste, serve immediately.

7
0 hours 0 minutes

For the chocolate souffle base… place the cold milk in a small, heavy-based saucepan. Add sifted sugar, cornflour, cocoa powder and salt, and cook over medium heat. Whisk the mixture constantly until smooth. Bring to a bubble and reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking until thick. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour before removing from the fridge.

8
0 hours 0 minutes

Pre heat the oven… to a temperature of 190C.

9
0 hours 0 minutes

Prepare the souffle moulds… use a pastry brush to brush 6 x 200 ml souffle moulds with softened butter, stroking upwards. Add the chocolate and hazelnut powder to one mould, rotating it to coat the insides, then tip excess into the next mould and repeat, until all six moulds are lightly coated.

10
0 hours 0 minutes

Add pear to each mould… cut a poached pear into quarters and remove any core. Chop into large chunks and evenly distribute in the four prepared moulds. Add a tablespoon of hazelnut praline to the moulds on top of the pear.

11
0 hours 0 minutes

To make the meringue… place the weighed egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl of an electric stand mixer and whisk on high for a minute until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar in three stages, using a tablespoon, while continuing to whisk. Whisk the meringue until it’s glossy and stiff.

12
0 hours 0 minutes

To mix the souffle… weigh out 60 g of the chocolate souffle mix and put it into a large mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, work the mix until it is pliable.

13
0 hours 0 minutes

Add one-third of the meringue… and combine until smooth using the spatula. Once the one third has been completely amalgamated you can gently fold in remaining meringue.

14
0 hours 0 minutes

Spoon the souffle mixture… into the prepared moulds halfway up. Add more souffle mix to each mould and over fill to use up all the mix.

15
0 hours 0 minutes

Smooth over… with a palette knife, scraping the surfaces flat and discarding any excess mix. Run the tip of your thumb around the top edge to form a slight collar on each souffle. Make sure the moulds are clean.

16
0 hours 0 minutes

To cook the souffles… place on a tray on the middle shelf of the oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until the souffles have risen 3 cm above the lip. Dust with icing sugar, cut a small hole in the centre of the surface with a teaspoon and pour in some chocolate sauce. Serve with the pear sorbet and add the pear crisp. Serve immediately.