The past couple of weeks have been extremely quiet in Beetle’s Kitchen. I’ve been down with different kinds of the flu, plaguing me one after the other. So, for a little over two weeks, my taste buds abandoned me and even the sight of the kitchen made me want to throw up. It of course goes without saying that I haven’t been inspired to try anything new and hence, there hasn’t been anything worthy of sharing here.
But, a couple of days back I was watching an episode of The Next Ironchef – Superchefs and a couple of the chefs made souffles with the ingredients given to them. The guru himself, and my favorite, Jeffrey Zacharian Geoffrey Zakarian (update: I’m ashamed to have gotten his name wrong earlier :S), blew the judges off their seats with his finesse and perfect technique in the kitchen generally and also his perfect souffle. He’d made a blueberry souffle with a sauce whose name I’ve forgotten. As with any Food Network cooking show, I thought I’d check the website to see if any of the chefs recipes were online. Believe it or not, every chef, cook, ironchef has recipes on the site except, you guessed it, Jeffrey. His dishes really are his best kept secrets.
I decided to hunt for souffle recipes on other sites and wanted something that would use cherries. I had a bag of them and thought I’d try them in a recipe instead of wolfing them down fresh. That’s when I came across this german site with a recipe for Almond Cherry Souffle. Bingo! That was it. I made a couple of changes to the original recipe and the result was delightful! I’d forgotten what a lovely combination cherries and almond essence made. The warm chocolate sauce is absolutely to die for. I licked the leftover chocolate sauce clean.
The only regret I have is not taking any pictures of the souffle fresh from the oven. They had risen like beauties and had fallen by the time I finally got some pictures of them. So please excuse the fallen souffle pictures. They still tasted heavenly! Bon Appetit!
Almond Cherry Souffle with Warm Chocolate Sauce
Ingredients and instructions:
- Butter for preparing ramekins
- 1 1/2 cups pitted fresh cherries
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 5 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 recipe warm chocolate sauce (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 6 8-ounce ramekins, place on a baking sheet, and set aside.
Combine cherries, lemon juice and almond extract in a blender and puree until very smooth and almost fluffy. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large, clean, metal bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until very soft peaks form. Continue to beat while slowly adding sugar in a steady stream. Beat until peaks are stiff but not dry. Use a rubber spatula to beat one-third of egg whites into cherry puree. Gently fold puree into remaining egg whites. Divide this mixture among ramekins and smooth the tops. Bake just until well-risen and beginning to brown, 12 to 14 minutes.
Serve the souffles immediately. Top with chocolate sauce, if desired.
Warm Chocolate Sauce
Heat 2 or 3 inches of water in a small saucepan to a low simmer. Combine 5 ounces coarsely chopped German milk chocolate with 3 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a heatproof bowl that fits over saucepan — bowl should not touch water. Stir until chocolate melts. Remove from heat and stir well until smooth; serve immediately. (Sauce may be reheated by setting it over simmering water as in preparation.)