Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ginger Elizabeth's Souffle Class

On Saturday I attended a Souffle class offered by Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates with Ginger as instructor. The class was held in a penthouse loft across the street from the store. It included three souffles with samplings and tastings of some of her chocolates.

The first was a Classic Souffle from the recipe she did every day at the Chicago Ritz Carlton. This was a base recipe from which you could add flavorings to your liking: raspberry, lemon, chocolate. To top this she made a Creme Anglaise that can also be flavored - today with Grand Marnier.

Our samples came out in small aluminum tins and so they deflated immediately. But she made another two in ramekins to show how they would rise and retain their height better in the ceramic. The ramekins had been greased thickly with butter and then a coating of sugar. This gave a nice crunch to the edges in contrast to the soft, melty center. Then you spooned some of the Creme Anglaise into that and it was heavenly.

Next up were chocolate molten lava cakes - the trendy dessert that all restaurants seem to have these days besides creme brulee. I've made these myself and really the secret is all in the timing of the baking so that you remove them when the outer surfaces are cooked and the interior is still raw. I reminded my friend, Jackie, that this really goes back to the spiel I always give about cooking brownies in metal or glass - they cook from the outside in. (See my brownie post for more on this.)

Our samplings had been made the day before in mini-muffin pans and then just reheated enough to warm them. Tiny morsels so that you wanted more. Luckily I snagged a second.

The final souffle was a semifreddo or frozen Meyer lemon souffle. Ginger again demonstrated the base recipe and then flavored it with lemon juice and zest. This one needed to be frozen overnight and so we were given tiny little cups of mousse-like frozen goodness.

After the souffles we were had three chocolates to taste. The first was a sample of a base milk chocolate to demonstrate the melt point of chocolate in your mouth. The second was one of her Meyer lemon truffles as she explained that it is possible to pair citrus with chocolate. This one is particularly popular in our citrus minded city. The last one I highly recommend. It is a new milk chocolate with crushed Kaffir lime leaves and, I believe she said, caramelized coconut. What a great blend of flavors with the texturing of the coconut. If you haven't been to the shop lately, definitely drop by to try this new flavor.

Ginger then reminded us that the shop also sells baking supplies. You can get quality chocolate, cocoa powder, or vanilla beans from her.

Unlike my posting for the gnocchi class, this time I was very pleased with what I had paid for. Three fabulous souffle tastings plus chocolate from a knowledgeable instructor. Ginger talked non-stop in an informative, fun way and everyone enjoyed her class. Afterwards you got to shop with a 10% discount at the shop.
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