Another thing I tackled while on dessert station was the classic chocolate souffle. I have never had any experience with it, but I thought it was necessary to try and eventually master, given that it's such a classic.
Classic souffle starts with making souffle cream, which is similar to pastry cream but denser. From my textbook it starts with 1/4 cup milk cooked with 2.5 oz sugar to boiling. On the side mix 3 oz flour with 2.5 oz sugar, 1 1/2 cup milk, 1 egg, and 2 egg yolks. Temper the egg mixture with 1/3 of the hot milk, then pour the egg mixture into the hot milk and cook again to a boil, then cool over an ice water bath. Once the souffle cream is cooled it's useable (I made it the day before and refrigerated it).
Souffles call for ramekins, which need to be buttered and sugared inside. The butter I wiped on with my fingers, but Chef Mark showed me the trick with sugar, which is to pour some sugar into one ramekin, turn it sideways and rotate so the sugar coats all the sides, then pour the sugar into the next ramekin, and etc. I did it for five ramekins.
Then I melted 5 oz chocolate with 1.5 oz butter and added that and 1 egg yolk to the souffle cream.
On the side I made meringue with 5 egg whites and 2.5 oz of sugar. 1/3 of the meringue went into the chocolate souffle cream to lighten it, and then the rest went in. The mixture was poured into the ramekins - they were supposed to fill the ramekins all the way up to the top but I had just shy of that. Chef Mark showed me how to even out the top with a spatula, then pinch the edge of the ramekin with your thumb and forefinger while rotating the ramekin so your thumb makes the border-space between the souffle top and the ramekin.
I was scared that prepping out the ramekins meant that the souffles would not rise as much in the oven, but it turns out this recipe allows it to sit out for awhile without affecting the rise. Taking too long between the oven to the customer is guaranteed to make the souffle fall though. So I made sure to tell the servers that they had 20 minutes between putting the dessert order in to getting the souffle to the table.
Here is the test souffle I baked off to make sure that 20 minutes was really what it took. (Look, the rise!)
Mr. Stellman warned me that I'd be lucky to get one souffle order because customers simply didn't want to wait around for a souffle. However, I got two orders, both as the customer was just starting in on their main course so they would get the souffle around the time that they finished their entree.
This was one of the ones left over at the end, baked and then served with vanilla sauce in the middle. Molten rich and decadent, but still light enough.