There are few desserts I like better than a warm just out of the oven soufflé, and there may be no one who does it better than Chef Michael Salmon of the Hartstone Inn in Camden, Maine. I’ve always been reluctant to make one at home because the preparation seemed so last minute, but thanks to Chef Michael I now know they can be made in advance, refrigerated and baked later.
Here’s the trick. Make the soufflé base in advance. Chef Michael says it will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. When you are ready to prepare the desired soufflé, additional spices or flavors are added along with stiffly beaten egg whites. At this point, you can choose to bake the souffle right away or refrigerate it until later.
Chef Michael not only provided the tips for making a soufflé, he shared with me his recipe for a gingerbread soufflé which I served at an annual Christmas dinner party, and it was what we call a real moaner! As your Christmas gift, I will share his recipe with you.
2 c. whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c. flour
1 c. granulated sugar
9 large eggs, separated
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. allspice
1/4 t. ground cloves
2 T. molasses
1/2 t. cream of tartar
In a 2 quart saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat. When it begins to simmer, add the sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved, approximately 2 minutes. In another 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, reduce heat to low, cook stirring frequently until well combined. Pour the milk mixture into the butter mixture. Whisk to combine and cook over medium heat until a ball forms and the mixture releases from the sides of the pan. Immediately place the mixture in a mixing bowl and stir on medium low speed with an electric mixer for 10 minutes. (Chef Michael uses a flat paddle attachment, but I did not have one and the beaters worked fine.)
One by one add the egg yolks, mixing each one in thoroughly. When all are added, set the mixture aside to cool. While it is cooling, generously butter the inside and the rim of ten 1 1/2 c. ramekins. Sprinkle granulated sugar in the ramekin and rotate to coat evenly. Tap out any excess sugar.
To the base, add spices and molasses. Mix well. Whip the egg whites with cream of tartar to stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, gently fold half the egg whites into the base. Continue folding in remaining egg whites. Gently pour the mix into the prepared dishes, filling them 4/5 full. At this point, you may refrigerate the souffles until later or bake them immediately in a 350 oven for 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with spiced creme anglaise.
Spiced Creme Anglaise
2 c. whole milk
3 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. allspice
1/8 t. ground cloves
Bring the milk to a simmer in a 2 quart saucepan over medium high heat. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Slowly pour about 1/2 c. of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. (This is called tempering.) Whisk in an additional 1/2 c. of hot milk. Now whisk the tempered mixture back into the saucepan. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture reaches a temperature of 175 or coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and pour it through a fine meshed strainer into a medium bowl which is immediately placed in an ice bath to halt the cooking. Stir the mix occasionally until it cools. When it is cool, add the spices and refrigerate until serving. (The creme anglaise, too, will keep for up to one week.)
When I tell you this is good, believe it. There were a couple of extras, and we passed them around the table until they were gone and everyone was moaning with sheer pleasure. I also had some extra mix and rather than throw it out, I put it back in the refrigerator and baked it the next day. Know what? It rose just as high and was just as good so I learned that even with the egg whites added the mixture lasts for at least one day more.
Now that I have Chef Michael’s recipe for the base, I plan on doing some experimenting with flavors. Why don’t you do the same and let me know what tasty treat you discover?
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