Soufflés have a reputation for being difficult to make, but that's not why I've never made one before. I've never made soufflés because I never really craved soufflés. But blogging has been a way for me to expand my horizons and try new things in the kitchen. So when Tami at Running with Tweezers announced soufflés as the theme for 2007's first Hay Hay It's Donna Day, I instantly started craving one. It's the power of suggestion. Or maybe it's the power of food blogs?
Gourmet magazine describes this dessert as "a soufflé without fall … delicate and foolproof ". The word that caught my eye was "foolproof". It was as if the recipe was daring me to mess it up. Technically this isn't your traditional soufflé. Salzburger nockerl is more like a meringue dessert. The original recipe calls for lingonberry sauce, but I decided to use a combination of Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread) and raspberry jam. Because (1) Why not? (2) I can’t leave well enough alone and (3) in the spirit of HHDD, I wanted to "turn simple into special". It was a treat to find pockets of creamy Nutella and jam underneath the light and airy meringue. And was it foolproof? Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it foolproof but it was a pretty easy recipe. Just set your baking dish on a sheet pan to catch any drips and make sure you don’t open the oven while it's baking.
I think the hardest part was getting a photograph of the soufflé. My best light at this time of day was about 11 meters away from my oven. The heavenly clouds of my soufflé deflated with every step. I lost about 3 cm before snapping my first shot.
(adapted from Feb 2007 Gourmet)
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
2 tablespoons raspberry jam or preserves
5 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
confectioner's sugar for dusting
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Pour cream into a 9-inch pie plate or shallow gratin dish and spoon Nutella and jam into cream in dollops (it will be sparse).
Put egg whites and salt in a bowl, then set bowl in a larger bowl of hot water and stir whites to warm to room temperature, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from hot water. Beat whites with an electric mixer at high speed until they just form soft peaks, then beat in granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until whites just form stiff, glossy peaks. Sprinkle flour over meringue and fold in gently but thoroughly. Whisk together egg yolks and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk in about 1/2 cup whites to the yolks to lighten up the mixture. Then fold yolk mixture into whites gently but thoroughly.
Spoon large dollops of meringue onto cream mixture and bake until golden brown and set, 13 to 15 minutes. If you prefer a less creamy soufflé, bake 5 minutes more. Dust lightly with confectioners sugar and cool 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 to 6 (dessert) servings.
Nutella & raspberry jam peeking out