Chef Austin Szu and I have a little secret to let you in on…we’re late night Twitter buddies. Many a night are spent chatting and snarking with each other over anything and everything. Yeah, sometimes we flirt a little too. Hey, he’s the Sugar Daddy to my Cougar. And by Sugar Daddy, I’m talking about his mad patisserie skills and by Cougar I mean…well, cougar.
When I was first asked to write this guest post and presented its rather “interesting” criteria and approach, my initial reaction was “What the hell am I going to write about?” and honestly I seemed almost lost for a few days.
Despite a rather rough start, I eventually came up with what I hope is a perfect idea.
For many years, food has been equated to many things. It brings out emotions for a lot of people, and I know for me personally, food can induce an almost ethereal response. As someone who cooks for a living, I just love food and I love to eat. I firmly believe food is and can be a very intimate and even sexual experience.
There are many foods and dishes that are considered aphrodisiacs: Chocolate, oysters, caviar, champagne, truffles, vanilla, nutmeg, and the list goes on. As for dishes and beverages, there are martinis, roasted figs, steamed mussels, crepes, chocolate molten cake, and again, the list continues. Serve any or all of those to your loved one, you are almost always definitely getting yourself in the door of the romantic department.
The first thing that pops into my mind is none other than your classic chocolate soufflé. Not only does it have chocolate (aphrodisiac or not, awesome in itself), but a well executed soufflé will more times than not get you a little action. At the very least it will warrant a very heated make out session.
However, I’m not here to talk about the romantic effectiveness of a soufflé, but rather I am here to provide you some practical tips towards making a good soufflé better. At the same time this will be an opportunity to analogize these tips to how I believe a woman should and wants to be treated. (READ: lesson for guys)
Before I proceed any further, I should come out with a disclaimer. I am not a relationship expert nor certified in giving official relationship advice. Nor am I putting down my fellow man (or about to) nor trying to get any of you guys out there in trouble with your spouse or girlfriend. Please take the following with a light heart and a sense of humor.
Souffles have been notorious for being quite temperamental. I myself, have had both successes and failures with soufflé. Not treated properly and with resprect, your soufflé will crash and burn. Likewise in a romantic relationship, if you do not treat your woman appropriately and with respect, your relationship will crash and burn harder than the Hindenburg.
The very first tip to a successful soufflé is actually a matter of emotional and mental connection. What I’m trying to say is, DO NOT be afraid of the soufflé. It’s all in your head. If you keep thinking your soufflé is not going to turn out right while you’re making it, chances are you’re not going to succeed very well. Be confident that you can do a good job. The same goes with relationships. Be confident. Over the years with the handful of relationships I’ve had as well as hearing from female friends, one thing I typically hear from their mouths is that they want a confident man. It’s almost primal, for them to want someone who is confident and assertive. But back to the topic at hand…
As many different soufflés there are throughout the world, it always comes down to 2 major components: the base, and your levener. More than always your levener with a soufflé will be whipped eggwhites. If you are using anything else than egg whites, then you’re cheating on the soufflé like you’re cheating on your significant other. So if you’re reading this and happen to be cheating on your wife or girlfriend, then you’re less likely to use egg whites in a soufflé. It’s simple math.
Speaking of egg whites, the first tip to a successful soufflé is properly whipping your egg whites. It definitely takes a little practice (ok, maybe A LOT for some) but you’ll eventually get it. Under whipping will not provide you with enough lift and over whipping will likely cause deflation. Just as in a relationship, you need to find a balance in the effort you’re making. As a guy, too little effort will make the woman think you’re not interested. Too much and she’ll think you’re coming on too strong or may even be a creeper. Vice versa, as a woman, too much may make the guy think you’re a level 5 clinger.
Next, we move onto foreplay. Now, in the context of making soufflés, the only remote thing I could be talking about is combining your base with the egg whites. Just like how most women need to be eased into getting them “primed” for maximum performance, you need to be as equally gentle and gradual when folding your egg whites into your soufflé base. Just as you took care in perfectly whipping the egg whites to perfection, you need to take care not to collapse your egg whites by being overly aggressive or rushing it. Usually your first addition, as you need to temper your base, you can afford to be a little bit more aggressive. However, on your subsequent additions, you need to have a gentle hand not to kill your soufflé before it even gets to the oven. I mean, would you be rough with your man or woman without getting him or her warmed up a little? I didn’t think so. Again, its foreplay.
Once you’ve got your soufflé in the oven, the last key to a successful soufflé is to let it be and do its magic. For guys, in the developing stages of a relationship, don’t force it. Allow the relationship to develop and mature naturally. I’m not saying to be passive and unassertive, but don’t be over assertive either. That’s all the soufflé wants from you. If you do feel the need to check on your soufflé, make it very brief and DO NOT slam the oven door. That wisp of air can be enough to deflate your soufflé. Just like the soufflé, even the slightest wrong move or comment can quickly derail the momentum of a relationship.
If after all that, your efforts result in a beautifully risen soufflé, you should also hopefully have the makings of a successful relationship. If even after everything, things don’t work out, well, then as I always say, it wasn’t meant to be. And I’m not talking about relationships.
Whether or not you’re currently involved with someone, I suppose this is where I’ll finally provide you with the recipe.
The following recipe is actually a slight variation from a recipe I worked with at a small French bistro in Dana Point, my first job, actually, right out of culinary school. The restaurant is no longer there, but the soufflé was by far the most popular dessert on the menu. This one I am giving you is not as sweet, using less sugar as well as using bittersweet chocolate as opposed to semi-sweet chocolate. I personally prefer using chocolate with a higher cacao content for desserts as usually any added sugar in a recipe is typically enough to balance out the pleasant bitterness in the chocolate.
Recipe: Chocolate Soufflé
- 2 Ounces Bittersweet (~72%) Chocolate
- 2 Ounces Butter
- 3 Egg Yolks
- ½ Cup Egg Whites
- 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Melt chocolate and butter and mix together.
- Whisk egg yolks to ribbon stage, until light and thick.
- Add melted chocolate/butter and whip until chocolate begins to seize. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Briefly whisk egg whites until frothy. Add sugar and continue to whip until firm peaks form.
- Add meringue, in thirds, to base.
- Butter and sugar two 10 oz ramekins, evenly distribute batter and gently tap to release air.
- Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes or until soufflé has fully risen.
- Serve immediately with ice cream and or sauce, or dusted with powdered sugar or cocoa powder (at the restaurant we served it with a espresso ice cream and cream anglaise, breaking the soufflé table side)
Preparation time: 20 Minutes
Cooking time: 20 Minutes
Number of servings (yield): 2
Meal type: dessert
Culinary tradition: French