I know it seems so far like vegetarianizing Julia Child’s cookbook is a walk in the park, but I am here to tell you that I’ve had my first vegisaster. Maybe you can guess what it was?
On the menu this week…
VEGAN SOUFFLÉ! Duh duh duuuuuuuuhhhhhh!!! (You know, that sound where something sinister is revealed in B movies)
My first attempt was a complete and utter disaster. Like, I’ve never seen ANY DISH turn out so badly in my life – it was like the ingredients up and quit on me halfway through and were like… “F&^% this…”
What I did was try to replace the ingredients one-for-one, just like with the other stuff I’ve made so far. I should have know that wouldn’t work with this because A) Baking is a whole different game, and B) IT’S F&^%ING SOUFFLÉS. They’re tough bastards in the first place.
Julia has this whole process for mixing the ingredients together, but it really could be boiled down to “mix all ingredients together and pour into baking dish.” Because the process is not so important here, but rather the ingredients and ratios, I’ll give you Julia’s ingredient list first, and then tell you the various attempts I made.
Julia’s Ingredient List for Chocolate Soufflé
- 7 oz semisweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup strong coffee
- 1/2 TBSP butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 3 TBSP butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 6 egg whites
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
Okay… so the real conundrum here is the eggs, obviously. It clearly calls for yolks and whites in different points in the recipe, and they play very different roles. That’s what I like about the challenge of vegetarianizing – you have to think about what role the ingredient plays. For example, you can use Ener-G Egg Replacer in a chocolate chip cookie recipe because it’s a binder. However, that wouldn’t work here because what we need is a fluffer. That’s probably not the technical term, but that’s the literal role eggs play in a traditional soufflé recipe – they make that light fluffiness that one comes to expect, spilling over the top of the ramekin.
So on my first pass, I replaced the 4 yolks with 1 cup puréed silken tofu, because those act as a binder. Then, for the 6 whites, I THOUGHT I had a stroke of genius. I needed to fluff things, right? Baking powder, I thought. DUH! 1 teaspoon per egg, RIGHT?! I put that all in my Magic Bullet, and added a tablespoon of water and WHIRRRRRR. IT LOOKED LIKE EGG WHITES YOU GUYS!
I was like, “Oh my god, I’m a TOTAL CULINARY GENIUS.” Cockiness catches up to you, friends. I continued with the rest of the recipe as written, and finally it was time to pop it in the oven.
I was so excited! The first 15 minutes looked really promising. It was rising! It was chocolatey and smelled delicious and it was RISING! Then, somewhere between minute 16 and 20, the sh%& hit the fan. The fluff went flop, and all the ingredients literally separated from each other. It looked like a big hot pile of chocolate poo. LE GROSS.
I took it in stride. It was more like a fun challenge than anything! That’s the reality of vegan baking – you can’t always replace the ingredients one-for-one and hope to get the same results.
So I took to the internet to do some research. Turns out, most other vegan bakers have had trouble with this feat as well. It usually took many trial runs for them, even with their successful combinations. I kind of picked and chose from a few different recipes that I read about, and applied them to Julia’s method. Guess what… IT WORKED! I was dancing around the kitchen with excitement. It was a magical moment. In Julie & Julia, Julie Powell always says she feels like Julia is with her in the kitchen, on her side, helping her through. I feel like I have this weird relationship with Julia – I more envision her exaggeratedly rolling her eyes and being like, “… why don’t you just f%$*ing use eggs?!” And then I chuckle and say, “Oh Julia, you saucy minx!” And then I take another swig of wine…
DRUMROLL PLEASE! Brrrrrrrrrrrrr…
Vegan Chocolate Soufflé
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 7 oz vegan semisweet chocolate (easier to find than you think – many chocolates past 65% cacao content are naturally devoid of dairy)
- 1 block silken tofu
- 1/4 cup coffee
- 2 TBSP vegan butter substitute (I use Earth Balance), melted
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 4 TBSP agave nectar
- 3 TBSP congac or other liquor (probably not necessary, but I saw it suggested somewhere and it was YUMMO)
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 1 cup almond milk
- 3 TBSP cornstarch or arrowroot power
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 large stock pot
- 1 medium sauce pan
- 2 quart soufflé dish
- 1 large baking dish (for water bath)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill large stock pot 3/5 full of water and bring to a boil.
2. Break up chocolate into pieces and place into a medium saucepan. Place sauce pan on top of water in stock pot and turn heat down to a simmer. Chocolate will melt but not burn!
3. Add coffee to melted chocolate and stir together. Set aside.
4. Purée entire block of tofu until it’s silky smooth. (I use my Magic Bullet for this (and everything else) and it’s like, well, magic! I highly recommend picking one up. It might change your life.) Pour puréed tofu into a large mixing bowl.
5. Mix together the chocolate/coffee mixture and the tofu.
6. Stir in melted butter, flour, agave, liquor, vanilla, and milk.
7. Add in cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix all together.
8. Oil soufflé dish with butter or cooking spray. Pour mixture into dish.
9. Fill baking dish 1/2 full with water, and place soufflé dish to rest in water.
10. Bake for 60 minutes. Soufflé should rise gently, and crack a bit at the top. The insides will be moist and gooey and delicious.
As you can see, it doesn’t rise a TON, but it does rise, and if it were baked in a smaller ramekin and filled more, it probably would rise to the levels normally expected of a soufflé.
I hope you guys will try this recipe, it is really delicious! Let me know how it goes. I had fun with my first vegisaster! Thoughts, comments, follows, shares – all appreciated 🙂
San Diego sunset. #nofilter
Birthday cake I made for my Grandma