Fallen Toasted-Almond Soufflés with Poached Pears and Prunes
Photo: Lucas Allen
These soufflés collapse gracefully in their molds, so there's no need to rush them to the table; they are more like a light cake than a fragile whipped-egg-white confection.
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Total: 1 Hour
- 1 1/2 cups dry rosé wine
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 8 prunes, pitted; quartered lengthwise
- 3 Bartlett pears, peeled, halved, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 1/3 cups whole blanched almonds
- Unsalted butter, for brushing
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 5 (large) egg yolks
- 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 4 (large) egg whites
- 1 pinch of salt
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- In a medium skillet, combine the wine, sugar and vanilla bean and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the prunes, cover and cook over low heat until softened, about 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, toss the pears with the lemon juice. Add the pears to the skillet, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean. Transfer one-third of the poached pears and 1 tablespoon of the rosé syrup to a mini food processor or blender; puree until smooth. Transfer the pear puree to a small bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent browning.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely, then coarsely chop them. Transfer the almonds to a food processor and pulse until finely ground and still fluffy.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Brush four 1-cup ramekins with butter. Sprinkle the ramekins with granulated sugar and turn to coat evenly all over. Tap the excess sugar out of the ramekins.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar and the almond extract until pale. Stir in the ground almonds and pear puree.
- In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar and beat until the egg whites are firm and glossy. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the almond mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Scrape the soufflé mixture into the prepared ramekins. Smooth the tops and run your thumb around the inside of the rims. Transfer the ramekins to a baking sheet and bake for about 17 minutes, until the soufflés are risen and browned. Let cool slightly, then carefully loosen the soufflés from the ramekins with a knife.
- Invert the soufflés onto plates and spoon the prunes, pears and rosé syrup around them. Dust the soufflés with confectioners' sugar and serve.
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