Monday, March 24, 2008

Caramel Soufflés

And this is what I made the night after the pie...

Because I did not have access to internet on this trip, and because I packed and left home in a huge rush, took with me only one cookbook, and didn't have time to put together any recipes before I left...  because of all this, I ended up making dessert from that same cookbook two nights in a row; oh my!  But oh, it is an amazing book.  And oh, they are amazing desserts!

Though it may look complicated, I assure you, this is a very simple recipe!  There's some crème anglaise, some hard caramel, some almonds... and the caramel soufflé itself is nothing but egg whites and caramelized sugar.  Ok, I admit, I was supposed to put some other stuff in it and kind of forgot... I'm a terrible baker, I know.  But in my defense, I was caught up in the glory of two of my favorite things in the world - meringue, and melted sugar.  Combine those two and Allison is sure to lose her wits.  So I completely forgot that other things were supposed to go in the mix... oh well, they clearly weren't all that important, because my results were fantastic!  So the recipe I'm giving has been modified to disclude anything that Allison forgot to include in her caramel meringue distracted state.  These things happen.  If you want the complicated version, I suggest you buy the book (I suggest you buy it, anyways), Lost Desserts by Gail Monaghan.  

Caramel Soufflés (adapted from Lost Desserts by Gail Monaghan)

For the soufflés:

4 egg whites
a small pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Butter and sugar 4 ramekins. 
Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form.
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Let boil, covered for 3 minutes.  Uncover and continue to boil until the syrup becomes caramel in color.
Once it is ready, immediately remove caramel from the heat and pour slowly into the egg whites, beating constantly.  
Once the caramel is incorporated, gently spoon the mixture into prepared ramekins and place in a bain marie.
Put in the oven and immediately lower the oven temperature to 400 F.  After 5 minutes, turn off the oven, keeping the door closed.  After 15 more minutes, remove from the oven and place the soufflés on a wire rack to cool.  

For the crème anglaise:

1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the egg yolks until they are lightened and thick.
In a saucepan, heat the milk, cream, sugar, and salt.  Once it is simmering, slowly pour it into the egg yolks, beating constantly.  
Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and the mixture coats the back of the spoon.  
Strain into a bowl, add the vanilla extract, and refrigerate.

To assemble:  When both components are cool, spoon the crème anglaise onto serving plates.  Carefully invert the soufflés onto the plates.  Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if desired.  
To make the hard caramel drizzle, cook 1/2 cup sugar with 3 tablespoons water as described in the soufflé recipe.  When the mixture is ready, pour it directly over the plated soufflés in a decorative manner.  Let harden.  


Katie said...

Wow those look amazing! So fancy! The presentation is wonderful!

Emiline said...

Very elegant looking.
This sounds challenging. I don't know if I'm up for it. Yet.

Deborah said...

Um, from the looks of these 2 desserts, that cookbook must be a great one!!!

Astra Libris said...

Your souffles are stunningly beautiful! I'm always in awe of how perfectly presented your desserts are... You are truly an artist!

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