Phil’s Chocolate Soufflé Pudding
This can be prepared 2-3 hours in advance to the point of folding in the egg whites. Just leave at room temperature until ready to finish and put in oven. For the sauce, puree fresh or frozen berries in a blender with a little sugar and lemon juice, strain and store in a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator for up to two days.
1 6-ounce brioche or challah bread, sliced, crusts removed
3 cups whipping cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup ground almonds
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus more for garnish if desired
Grand Marnier, optional
Raspberry sauce, optional (see above)
Fresh mint sprigs, optional
1. Place bread slices in a container with 2 cups of the whipping cream. Set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes, occasionally spooning cream over and between slices to make the bread uniformly soft.
2. Meanwhile, melt the chocolates together in a bain-marie, double boiler or microwave and set aside.
3. Cream the butter with 1/2 cup sugar. Mix in the 5 egg yolks.
4. Add the ground almonds.
5. Add the soaked bread and mix well to break up the bread.
6. Add the melted, slightly cooled chocolate, and fold in with a rubber spatula until well combined. Mixture can be made ahead to this point.
7. Whip the egg whites with remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a medium peak (floppy, not stiff, peaks should form when you raise your whisk or beater). Beat -1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining whites.
8. Butter 10 (about 3/4 cup) individual souffle cups and fill with mixture, leveling off the tops with a straight-sided knife.
9. Place filled cups in a large baking pan and add enough hot water to go halfway up the sides. Bake in the pan at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. The pudding is done when the tops are firm and the middle is dry and cake tester comes out clean. Take care not to overcook.
10. While the pudding cooks, whip the remaining cup of cream. Add the 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and a little Grand Marnier if desired, during the whipping.
11. Let puddings cool a bit, and serve in the cups or turn out onto individual plates. Top with whipped cream and garnish with berry sauce and/or mint sprigs. For a final touch, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
— Recipe inspired by the Upscale Downtown Bakery in Petaluma