Maple Soufflés for Edible Finger Lakes Magazine
One of the most delightful things that has happened to me as a result of keeping this blog has been the opportunity to meet scores of wonderful, like-minded food lovers…other bloggers, readers, and most recently, the editors of Edible Finger Lakes magazine. They approached me early in the year to ask if I’d be interested in writing the Seasonal Cooking column in the magazine, and of course I jumped at the chance! Edible Finger Lakes focuses on the local food and wine being produced in our region, highlighting various farmers, winemakers, local food products, and stories related to our foodshed. It’s one of the 54+ regional magazines operating independently under the Edible Communities umbrella. Chances are, there’s a magazine devoted to your local food region (you can see the full list of Edible publications here), and if there is, you should most definitely check it out!
The Spring 2009 issue is out this week, and the topic of my Seasonal Cooking column: Eggs! How appropriate, right? I’m devoted to the eggs that I get at our market from local farmers, laid by hens that graze on pasture and eat greens, grubs and seeds. Their thick whites and vivid yellowy-orange yolks make them a dream to cook with and give them a wonderfully rich taste. As many of you know, the eggs laid by hens raised on pasture are an entirely different creation than the mass-produced eggs found in the supermarket, and I like supporting my local farmers who are raising chickens in a more natural, humane way (plus it makes for very good eats.)
For the column, I created a few recipes that showed off the egg’s versatility. Since early spring equals maple season around here, one of the recipes I decided to create is a maple soufflé, that would utilize both the yolks (for the maple pastry cream base) and the whites (whipped to peaks and folded into the pastry cream, giving the soufflé its lift and oomph.)
I was thrilled with how they turned out, and I hope you try them at home, too. Soufflés are actually quite a bit easier than their reputation suggests; I’ve heard crazy rumors about how just closing the oven door too hard will make your soufflés fall, but happily, that’s not true. This version tastes a little reminiscent of a pancake to me, with the maple flavor, and it’s light on the tongue and beautiful to present.
If you live in the Central New York area between (and including) Syracuse and Rochester — the 14 counties making up the Finger Lakes region — you can visit the Edible Finger Lakes web site to find a location in your county that carries the magazine. For everyone else, there might be PDF versions of the magazine available online in another few months, when our next issue — Summer — is out. And do check out the list of Edible Communities publications to find out if there’s a magazine for your region!
as published in Edible Finger Lakes magazine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
Pinch of salt
¼ cup pure maple syrup, preferably dark amber
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup sugar, plus additional for dusting ramekins
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Generously coat the insides and top rims of six ¾ cup ramekins with 2 tablespoons of the butter, brushing upwards in vertical strokes (this will help the soufflés rise.) Sprinkle sugar into each of the ramekins, rotating them around to coat the sides, and tap out the excess. Set the ramekins on a small baking sheet and place the them in the refrigerator while you make the soufflé batter. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until it melts. Whisk in the flour to form a roux, and continue whisking the roux over medium heat for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, whisking all the while until the mixture is smooth. Continue cooking the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens considerably (it should be similar to a paste.) Take the pan off the heat and stir it to cool down slightly; it should be warm but not steaming. Whisk in a pinch of salt and the maple syrup until it is thoroughly incorporated. One by one, add the egg yolks, whisking to combine after adding each one. Transfer this egg yolk mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Whip the egg whites with a whisk (or a whisk attachment on an electric mixer) until they are very foamy. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar, and continue beating until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk base to lighten it. Continue gently folding in the remainder of the egg whites, in 2 more additions. Divide the soufflé batter among the ramekins, smooth the tops with a spatula, and wipe off any batter stuck to the top rims. Bake for 25 minutes, until soufflés are risen and golden brown on top. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 individual soufflés.