Thursday, December 13, 2007

Individual Apricot Souffles with Bitter Chocolate Sauce

This recipe ran in the Times last year, and I served it for dessert on New Year's Eve, as the end of a five course banquet. Completely fabulous.

10 ounces dried apricots
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons plus ½ cup sugar
4 ounces high-quality unsweetened chocolate (99 percent cacao)
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 tablespoons Tokaji aszu or grand marnier
1 teaspoon almond extract
10 large egg whites at room temperature.

1. Place apricots in a bowl, pour in just enough hot water to cover them and set aside to soak 2 hours. Brush 6 1-cup soufflé dishes or ramekins with butter and dust with 3 tablespoons sugar. Set aside on a baking sheet.

2. Melt chocolate over low heat. Stir in corn syrup and ½ cup water. Cook briefly, until well combined. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

3. When apricots are soft and have absorbed most of the soaking water, drain and purée in a food processor. Place in a very large bowl and stir in wine and almond extract. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

4. Beat egg whites by machine, using a whisk attachment, until very softly peaked. Gradually beat in remaining ½ cup sugar until whites are very glossy, hold their shape but are not rigid. Stir one-fourth of whites into apricot mixture and fold in the rest. Divide among soufflé dishes, place in oven on baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Serve, with room temperature chocolate sauce on the side.

Yield: 6 servings.

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