The Eiffel Tower is famous for its soufflés, and we serve thousands of them every year. We always have at least ten different flavors at the restaurant, depending on the season. Guests love watching these being made at the dessert station in the kitchen. Depending on the flavor you want, you can add any number of flavors to reflect the seasons, such as raspberry in the spring and summer; pumpkin in the fall; mandarin orange in the winter; and chocolate, Grand Marnier, and pistachio any time of year (see the variations that follow).
For the soufflé base
4 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
18 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cornstarch
3 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 large egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the vanilla sauce
1 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar and whisk until blended.
3. Combine the flour and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir with a small whisk to blend. Add two-thirds of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Add 1 cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture and mix well. Add another cup of milk and mix. Add the rest of the flour mixture and whisk until smooth (the mixture should be fairly liquid).
4. Bring the remaining milk back up to a boil and add it to the base all at once, stirring constantly until smooth. Immediately stir in the butter until fully incorporated. The mixture should have the consistency of heavy cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight (the base will perform better after it has rested for a day).
5. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Gradually beat in the sugar and cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form.
6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°). Butter and sugar six 4 1/2-ounce ramekins, tapping to remove the excess sugar, and place in a baking pan.
7. Combine 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base with the desired flavorings (recipes follow). Add about one-fourth of the beaten whites to the soufflé base and stir to combine. Fold in the remaining whites with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Divide the batter among the ramekins. Place the baking pan in the oven and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
8. Immediately place each ramekin to a serving plate, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve with the vanilla sauce on the side. Each guest should crack open the top of his or her soufflé with a spoon, then pour about 2 tablespoons of the sauce into the soufflé.
Make the vanilla sauce
1. Have a strainer and a bowl on hand. Combine the milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the hot milk to the egg yolks. Whisk in the remaining milk. Pour the mixture back into the pot and cook over high heat until it registers 175°F (79°C) on a candy thermometer or coats the back of a spoon.
Stir in 1/4 cup puréed raspberries and 1/4 cup raspberry liqueur to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.
Stir in 1/4 cup pumpkin purée and 1/4 cup Southern Comfort to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.
Mandarin Orange Soufflés
Stir in 1/4 cup mandarin purée (found in specialty stores or online) and 1/4 cup mandarin liqueur or vodka to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.
Stir in 1/4 cup shaved dark chocolate and 1/4 cup coffee liqueur to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.
Grand Marnier Soufflés
Stir in 1/4 cup Grand Marnier to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.
Stir in 1/4 cup pistachio paste (found in specialty stores or online) and 1/4 cup amaretto to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.
Recipe © 2008 French Café LLC. All rights reserved.