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Souffles a la Suissesse
Good recipes travel fast. A friend in Vancouver sent to me in California a soufflé recipe from Lydie Marshall, a cooking teacher in New York. I have immense respect for her cookbook, Cooking with Lydie Marshall (Knopf, 1984), so any recipe of hers captures my attention at once.
After reading the recipe, I knew a great party could be planned around it. This soufflé is a natural choice for a busy person who wants to entertain. It can be baked ahead, unmolded, then returned to the oven for reheating before eating. Like magic, each time it comes from the oven, it never fails to puff dramatically again.
When I called Marshall to compliment her, she said Escoffier originally created this soufflé in the early 1900s and cookbook authors like Richard Olney embellished the recipe 50 years later. Soufflés a la Suissesse, her personal interpretation, promises to be your company favorite for many years.
Serve this for a Sunday supper party. Begin with an artichoke first course made the day before, since it is best served chilled. At serving time, give each guest a clean plate for the eaten artichoke leaves. This extra plate's primary function is obvious, but it can produce a conversation piece. Notice when everyone finishes eating that each guest has subconsciously arranged the discarded leaves. Each guest has his or her own style.
Some leaves are stacked orderly, others are arranged haphazardly.
Often imported cheeses are packaged in plywood crates in varying sizes and shapes. When you buy the Parmesan for the soufflé, ask for a cheese crate. Now you have a container for a centerpiece, and it was free. It will look charming filled with shiny red peppers, nuts in their shells and small yellow onions. For dessert, serve my spicy adaptation of an old timer-cream cake.
Artichokes with Crudité Salad
6 large artichokes
1 cup favorite vinaigrette dressing
2 carrots, shredded
2 bunches radishes, shredded
1/2 small jicama, finely chopped
Cook artichokes until tender; stand upside down on paper towels to drain and cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the vegetables with 1/3 cup of the dressing. Spoon out the fuzzy centers (the chokes) and spread the surrounding leaves back to provide a well for the crudité salad. Place in a shallow dish and spoon the remaining vinaigrette dressing over the artichokes. When cool, fill cavities with the salad, cover with plastic wrap and chill until an hour before serving. Serves 6.
Lydie Marshall's Soufflés a la Suissesse
2 cups milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup (2 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 large egg whites
1 cup heavy cream, optional, for baking ahead
Additional grated Parmesan cheese
Butter six individual ramekins (each 1 cup capacity). Heat milk to warm. Whisk the milk into the flour, then over medium-high heat whisk the mixture until it thickens.
Off the heat, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Whisk in the egg yolks, salt and pepper, then the cheese. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form; fold one-third into the soufflé base, then transfer the soufflé base onto the remaining egg whites and fold gently to combine the mixtures.
Fill each mold three-quarters full. Place them in a warm water bath, the water reaching half way up. Bake in the middle shelf of a preheated 350° oven. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the top is spongy.
NOTE: Fold braised asparagus tips, chopped red pepper, chopped broccoli or even morels into the soufflé mixture. Or, bake soufflé in a ring mold instead of individual dishes.
TIP: To bake ahead, cool 5 to 10 minutes, then unmold into individual buttered gratin dishes, pour cream over them and sprinkle with more grated cheese. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until the soufflés are puffy again. Serve hot. Excellent served with sautéed red pepper strips.
Spicy Cream Cake with Honey Topping
2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 tablespoon cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Sift flour, spices, baking powder and baking soda onto waxed paper. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, whip the creams and eggs in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Add sugar and vanilla and whip on medium speed 3 minutes until mixture is lighter and thicker. Lower mixer speed, add dry ingredients and blend just until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake until center of cake springs back when lightly touched with fingers, about 30 to 35 minutes. While cake bakes begin topping: In a small saucepan, melt butter; add flour; stir to combine. Add milk, sugar, honey and cinnamon; blend over low heat until bubbly.
When cake tests done, pour over top, sprinkle nuts over topping; return to oven just 3 minutes longer. Remove to a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove springform sides; cool completely before serving. Serves 8.
Flo Braker has been teaching baking techniques and her sweet miniatures across the country for twenty years and is the author of several cookbooks.