"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Rosemary Walnuts and Chocolate Souffle

Here's what I loved about Rosemary Walnuts: the combination of rosemary and walnut. Here's what I didn't love: that they were tossed in butter and baked.

Don't get me wrong; I love butter. But when it's coating something, and that something has cooled down to room temperature, that lovely glossy coat cools and congeals. You know what I'm talking about.

So if you're going to try this recipe (and why not, to expand your repertoire of hors d'oeurves?) toss the walnuts in olive oil.


I wish, I wish, I wish I could tell you that this Chocolate Souffle tastes as good as it looks. Of course, sometimes chocolate in any form is better than no chocolate whatsoever. If you're in that kind of mood, bake away.

The headnotes in The Gourmet Cookbook (but not on Epicurious, though it is of course the same recipe) say that the quality of chocolate makes all the difference here. They suggest Valrhona. I used Nestle Chocolatier 65%, since The Fruitful Basket is closed on Sunday and that's where I get my Valrhona, and sometimes I'm just too stubborn to actually believe what people tell me and have to see for myself.

This recipe IS significantly lower in fat than some other souffle recipes out there--no butter appears in this dessert (I've seen some souffle recipes that call for two sticks) and half the egg yolks are discarded. So dieters, take note!

The overall effect the next day, when it's compressed, is kind of like a lite brownie.

Technical criticism. The recipe asks you to lighten the chocolate by folding some whipped egg whites in, and then folding the lightened chocolate into the remaining egg whites. This is impossible--the chocolate is still far too heavy to fold. You will just have to fold in the egg whites bit by bit--otherwise you'll get clumps of chocolate in your egg whites that will never break up.

The next time I get my hands on some Valrhona I might try this again, because I to dismiss recipes like this, especially in a cookbook that has been so amazingly reliable. So stay tuned.

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