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Monday, October 1, 2012

Pepper Boursin Soufflé with Cherry, Pumpkin & Sunflower Seed Tuiles

One of my many wonderful discoveries in Switzerland was the gourmet food market at Globus (this is a high end department store).  Knowing I was into food, my friends recommended I go there to get the best local and imported products available.  It was great.

One of the finds I made was a cherry and flax seed cracker (I think it was from Italy).  I thought this would lend itself well to a cheese platter when we had guests.  When I got home, I wanted to try it and the only cheese I had on hand was Pepper Boursin cheese.  It turns out the the combination of two was really, really good.  The creamy and peppery texture of the cheese with the slightly sweet and crunchy texture of the cracker was amazing.  

This became quite a favorite of mine and I have to admit to eating a whole box of the crackers for dinner (with the cheese) once when I was alone (it's a small box).

I started to think about a way of combining these flavours in a dish I could serve to friends and that would have the same taste and texture effect.  

This is my first idea.  It actually worked very well and the flavours were good (should have added a bit more salt to the soufflé - but that was easily fixed in the recipe below).  This type of soufflé makes a great starter.  It can also work well as a side dish with ham, chicken or meat.  You can use small ramekins like the one in the picture or a large one that can be presented on the table for serving.  The only thing to remember is that it must have straight sides for the soufflé to rise properly.

My soufflé did not rise very straight and that is because the ramekins were not buttered evenly before putting in the batter.  To fix this, butter them well once, put them in the fridge for 30 minutes and then butter them again.  Thought I could skip this step but it really needs to be done for a beautiful soufflé.

Finally, the tuiles are really easy.  I make them all the time and just change what I put on them to go with what they will be served with.  They are the same as the ones used in the Mushroom Pine Nut Rotondo recipe.  Here is the recipe for today's version Cherry, pumpkin & sunflower seed tuiles.  You can be very creative and sprinkle them with whatever you like.

You will need:  For 5 small soufflés or one 8" large ramekin (serves 4 - 5)

  • 2 tbsp butter (30 g)
  • 2 tbsp flour (30 g)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) of whole milk (cold)
  • 1 whole Pepper Boursin Cheese (150g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites
  • butter at room temperature for the ramekins

  1. Preheat oven to 375 ºF (190ºC);
  2. Melt butter (2 tbsp - 30 g) in medium saucepan over medium high heat;
  3. When butter is melted, add flour (2 tbsp - 15 g)  and mix well to form a paste (this is a roux).  Cook for a few minutes to remove the taste of the flour (no colour).  Remove from heat if you feel it is too hot;
  4. Add cold milk (1 cup - 250 ml) and whisk to blend well with the roux and bring to low boil;
  5. Mixture will thicken.  Allow to boil for about 3 minutes, add salt;
  6. Add cheese (150 g) and mix until completely melted, taste to see if it needs more seasoning;
  7. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly
  8. Separate the eggs and add the yolks (4) one at a time, blending well after each addition;
  9. Batter can be prepared up to this point a few hours ahead;
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours (otherwise, just allow to cool until just warm);
  11. Butter the ramekins with softened butter and place in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour;
  12. Butter the ramekins a second time and finish by brushing the butter on the sides in an upward motion (helps to guide the souffé to rise);
  13. When you are ready to bake the souffés, remove the batter from the fridge;
  14. Place the egg whites (5) in the bowl of the mixer with a pinch of salt;
  15. Start to beat on low and slowly increase to high;
  16. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (but they are not dry);
  17. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the cheese batter and blend well (this will help to "loosen"  the batter and will allow the remaining egg whites to be well blended in);
  18. Put the remaining egg whites in the batter and gently fold in (this allows you to keep as much air as possible in the soufflé batter);
  19. Place the batter in the ramekins and fill almost to the top (about 3 mm - 1/4 cm from the edge) and bake in a 375ºF (190ºC) oven for 25 minutes;
  20. Serve immediately.
Note:  you can use any cheese you like (add 1 cup of grated cheese instead of the Boursin).  A pepper goat cheese can also be used and would be very good.
After 5 minutes out of the oven -some loss of volume but still tastes great!

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