First of all, thank you to the ever-talented, sweet and enthusiastic Lili of Lili’s Cakes for organizing this souffle challenge! The tres leches challenge was plenty of fun as well… it always seems to be something I’ve considered making in a vague non-committal manner and so I’ve been very pleased with these challenges giving me the motivation to see it through!
Ah, and now I will take a brief break from food-related writings to mumble about some slightly serious busyness going on. August 5th was a popular day all around. It involved deadlines for a eulogy of sorts, an abstract, and, or so I had thought, a lovely souffle challenge! Luckily the souffle challenge ended up actually being August 6, so in the end I’m not actually late!
There’s also been a great deal of this stay-late and go-in-early sort of thing, which culminated in one glorious day that was fuelled by three hours of sleep, coffee and a bad chocolate bar masquerading as a granola bar. It was horrendous but surprisingly manageable, probably because it was a one-off. Now things have calmed down (sort of not really) but at least I seem to have a lot more time on my hands!
It’s given me a bit of time to put together this answer to the challenge (or should I say, gift for the party?)!
But on to the souffle: I used Lili’s cherry and almond souffle recipe. I’ve only had good experiences using Lili’s recipes (the previous time was the Italian meringue macaron shell…and I’ve really got to get around to the babka some day!) which can be chalked up to her careful explanations and detailed procedures (and pictures!).
I’ve been wanting to use some of our caraway seeds for a while. We recently bought some newer (and considerably more fragrant) caraway which I was pleased to use over the potentially-few-decades-old seeds. The caraway seeds have a very distinctive seedy-spicy taste to them, and at first I was slightly hesitant. However, the addition of nutmeg rounds it out into a more gentle spice taste. (Spices do work well together, don’t they…and I worry they might feel a bit lonely on their own.)
I really loved the taste of the pastry cream, but in the end it was too gentle for me to taste it in the souffle itself.
Rhubarb is, as always, tart and pleasant. However I found it a bit dry actually after it was baked…I might consider making a compote or poaching some rhubarb instead of roasting it…I think having a nice pool of juice in the bottom would be fun to eat with the souffle.
And thank goodness, the souffles rose! Some rose more evenly than others but they all got a bit of a lift. I suppose I never should have doubted it!
Caraway and nutmeg souffle with roasted rhubarb
This is adapted from Lili‘s cherry and almond souffles; I substituted a different compote for the bottom and some different spices as well. The spicing of the pastry cream should be strengthened in order for it to come out in the souffle itself. I had just enough batter for four small souffles.
a few stalks rhubarb
Chop rhubarb, toss with sugar to lightly coat. Pile together on a parchment lined pan and roast at 375 until softened and juices have been released. Let cool and chill in fridge.
Caraway and nutmeg souffle
200 g milk
teaspoonful caraway seeds
3 eggs, separated
45 g sugar + extra
15 g cornstarch
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Butter four small ramekins with softened butter and dust with granulated sugar, evenly coating the surface. Refrigerate.
Place the milk and caraway seeds in a small saucepan and heat until it simmers. Cover, remove from the heat, and allow to steep for one hour. Pass through a sieve to remove the seeds.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thickened and lightened. Add the cornstarch and nutmeg and whisk until pale and fluffy. Start warming the infused milk until steaming, then whisk into the egg yolks. Return the whole mixture to the stovetop and cook, whisking constantly, until nice and thick. Cover and let cool to room temperature.
Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until foamy. Add a couple spoonfuls of sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peaks.
Fold a spoonful into the cooled pastry cream to lighten, and then fold in the remainder until just combined.
Take the ramekins out from the fridge, add a small scoop of roasted rhubarb on the bottom of each. Top with a dollop of souffle batter and scrape the top level with the side of an offset spatula. Clean the edges.
Bake at 350F for 20 or so minutes, or until risen and lightly browned on top.
Dust with a bit of icing sugar and serve immediately with additional roasted rhubarb.