A few weeks ago my husband and I went down to Atlantic City to see a cooking demonstration by Geoffrey Zakarian. It's no secret we're huge fans of Chopped, so if we have a chance to see a judge in person, we're there. And another thing we don't usually pass up is a good excuse to go to Atlantic City! The demonstration was a lot of fun. Chef Zakarian showed us how to make a hamburger (apparently if you mash it too much and add things to the meat, it's a meatball, not a burger....who knew?!) with a side of coleslaw, plus a dessert of raspberry souffle.
Souffle is one of those things that I never attempted because I had heard how hard it was to make it, and all the superstitions about how easy it is to make the souffle fall (making loud noises, opening the oven, etc). But the way he demonstrated it, he kept saying how easy it is, even showing that you can open the oven, let the souffle sit there before putting it in the oven, etc. So, I decided to attempt making this dessert for Valentine's Day, and the results were a success!
The demonstration itself was a lot of fun. For some reason Bobby Flay's mother was there and sitting a few rows ahead of me. The audience could ask questions, so I asked him about the weird ingredients in the Chopped baskets (they had to eat lamb testicles...ick!). One woman asked the best way to cut onions without crying (the answer? "have your boyfriend do it") and there was also an older Italian woman there with her American daughter who asked questions, but then answered them herself like she was testing Chef Zakarian. It was a lot of fun.
The souffle made a lovely dessert for a special dinner, and honestly was so easy and so yummy, I'm definitely going to make it again. It's also a good dessert to make when you have folks over for dinner because it's sure to impress!
Flourless Raspberry Souffle (as printed in Geoffrey Zakarian's Town/Country)
for the puree:
4 6oz containers fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
for the souffles:
butter, for greasing the souffle dishes (**to make this parve, use vegetable shortening)
1 cup sugar
18 large egg whites
confectioners' sugar, for garnish
- Set aside 36 raspberries for garnish. Place the remaining raspberries, 6 tbsp of the sugar, and the lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the fruit is very soft (15 to 20 min). Remove the raspberries from the heat and allow them to cool to room temperature. Puree the berries in a blender (or use an immersion blender, stirring, then transfer them to a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare six 8oz ramekins (**though if you have a different size, it's ok to use what you have) by generously buttering them on the inside and then coating the butter lining with 2 tbsp of the sugar. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment on low speed. Whip the whites until they form soft peaks, then gradually begin adding the remaining sugar. Continue whipping until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks.
- Remove the egg whites from the mixer and gradually fold in 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of raspberry puree in thirds, taking care to not over fold (if you like an airy, lighter-flavored souffle, add the lesser amount of the puree; if you prefer a more intense fruit flavor, add the greater amount). Reserve any remaining puree. Using a pastry bag with the large plain tip, pipe the souffle mixture into the ramekins, swirling it so each souffle has a peak like a soft ice cream cone. (Alternatively, just spoon the mixture into the ramekins, filling them not quite to the top). Stud the peaks of the souffles with the reserved raspberries.
- Place the souffles in the oven immediately and bake until puffed and golden, about 15 min. The center of the souffle should still be soft. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately, garnished with any leftover raspberry puree.