Aaron has decided he hates eggs. Anything that is remotely eggy he can't stand. He says it makes him gag. Of course it doesn't occur to him as odd that some of his favorite things in life include pate choux and souffles - both of which are primarily eggs...
A few years ago I made a cheddar souffle as a special Valentine's Day meal. Of course, they have had souffle since then, but they request it whenever it pops in their little noggins. They needless to say were pretty excited about this months Daring Baker challenge.
Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website. Of course they did allow us to make our own recipe. And that is exactly what we did.
Inspired by our CSA pears, we went for a pear and blue cheese souffle. The beauty of this souffle is that it can be eaten as dessert or as a we did tonight, a light slightly sweet brunch or dinner dish. It is meant to be cooked until just wobbly, so it is soft and unxious. And really, this is a rather healthy souffle. I had no problem letting my kids go for a second one. The sweet pear plays off of the salty blue. Novel pairing? No, but it's a classic for a reason
I don't find souffles as fussy as many people say. The key is in the egg whites, they must be beaten to stiff peaks, but not over done so that they collapse. Fold gently but with purpose. Get the eggs whites down and you can have your souffle and eat it too! I find the discussions on souffle in Harold McGee's books very nice in dispelling old myths - you don't need to sugar the ramekin so it can climb, and you don't need to tiptoe in the kitchen.
One few other tip: Make sure your oven is preheated thoroughly before baking.
Pear Blue Cheese Souffle
- 400 g ripe bosc pears (about 2-3 large), halved, peeled and cored
- 1/3 cup good mild flavored honey (I used almond blossom)
- 2 cups apple juice plus one teaspoon red wine vinegar, or 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 t kosher salt
- 5 egg whites
- 4 egg yolks
- pinch of cream of tarter (optional)
- 1 1/2 ounces good quality blue cheese, crumbled
- 6 individual 6 oz. ramekins, buttered
- Bring honey, apple juice/vinegar or wine, and water to a simmer. Add pears and simmer until soft. The time will depend on the pears, but around 10 minutes.
- Remove pears and reduce the poaching liquid by boiling over medium heat until it is very thick and syrupy and measures about 2/3 cup.
- Meanwhile, puree the pears. Then place in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it is very thick, starts to carmelize (brown a bit) and measures about 1 cup.
- Allow both the syrup and the puree to cool.
- When ready to assemble and bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Bring a few inches of water to boil in a small sauce pan. In a metal mixing bowl that will nest on the top of the sauce pan without hitting the bottom, whisk together 1 TB of reduced syrup and egg yolks. Whisk constantly over the water, until the eggs start to thicken. Remove from mixing bowl to a large cool bowl to stop the cooking. Mix in the blue cheese.
- Place egg white and a pinch of cream of tarter in the very clean bowl of a stand mixer. Start on low, with the whisk attachment and gradually increase speed. When the eggs just barely hold soft peaks, add 1 1/2 TB of the reduced syrup and mix on high until they are shiny and hold stiff peaks.
- Place about a half cup of the whites in the yolks mixture, then fold in the rest of the egg whites. There should be no streaks in the batter, but fold carefully so you don't deflate the batter.
- Divide into ramekins, place ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly wobble. Remove and serve immediately. These are soft set souffles so they will deflate after a few minutes. You can re-inflate by placing back in the hot oven.