Dessert: Bastille Day Puddings (Soufflés chocolat noisette)

 

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Joyeux 14 Juillet!

For the uninitiated, Bastille day is the celebration of the storming of the infamous Bastille prison in Paris at the start of the French revolution in 1789. It was a reaction against the oppression of the Monarchy and the ancien regime. An enormous gap between the rich and poor in France saw most of France crippled by famine and disease, while the royalty and aristocracy enjoyed a lavish life of luxury.

In the lead up to the revolution, those who did not resign themselves to the absolute power of the King (Louis XVI) were incarcerated in the Bastille prison in Paris. The storming of the Bastille was therefore a momentous occasion for la liberté (freedom) of the French. However, it also officially marked the beginning of a very turbulent time for France. The French revolution did not end until 1799.

 

Visiting Versailles in winter, the Palace of Louis XVI before he was fled

Visiting Versailles in winter, the Palace of Louis XVI before he fled

The legacy of the revolution continues in France today. La révolution française established the motto of France: liberté, fraternité (brotherhood), égalité (equality) which still underlies French culture. Today, many French people are passionate about fighting perceived inequalities, and fervently stand up for their rights. You don’t need to visit Paris (or any other French city) very long to witness a French protest. Whether it’s about racial diversity, train drivers’ working conditions (you’re almost guaranteed train delays while you’re visiting), or right-wing politician Marine Le Pen’s latest crazy idea, the French sure do love a good strike, and it’s this passion, evident in almost every aspect of la vie française, that draws me to their culture.

So to celebrate the glorious fête nationale, I have baked rich, fluffy soufflés which I think would please even the fussiest eater. As usual, they are vraiment façile (really easy)! This is a great recipe, the soufflés are gooey in the middle and crispy, almost meringue-like on top.

On an interesting language note, the term soufflé comes from the verb souffler which means to blow, and is a testament to the airiness of the soufflé, and the way it very quickly puffs up when it is in the oven.

Soufflé au chocolat noir et aux noisettes (Dark chocolate and hazelnut puddings)

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Recipe from Gourmet Traveller 

Serves 4

Cooking time: 20 minutes prep + Approx. 20 minutes to bake

55g butter

265g quality dark chocolate (at least 53% cocoa), chopped

3 eggs, separated

2 Tbs caster sugar

35g roasted hazelnuts (or roast yourself on low heat until golden), peeled and chopped

Cream or ice-cream to serve

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsuis. Very slowly melt butter and sugar, preferably over a double boiler to ensure they don’t burn.

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Once chocolate is melted and glossy remove from stove and stir in chopped hazelnuts, egg yolks and sugar. Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks and gently fold through chocolate mixture.

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Immediately divide among four small ramekins and bake for about 15 minutes or until the soufflés have puffed up and just set. Serve with cream or ice-cream.

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Bonne journée et bon appétit!

 

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