Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fallen Souffle for Fall

I don't know if anyone here uses a blog reader (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) to bookmark stuff they want to make. Maybe some of the Baking Sisters' recipes are even on your blog reader, in which case, we're flattered. Anyway, I have no such thing, but I have a rather long-running blog reader in my head. Because it's in my head, a recipe has to really be something special in order to get on this most exclusive of lists. I saw this recipe from Tartelette when she first posted it - in December 2009 - and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. This is partly thanks to the gorgeous photographs (all the photography on that site is gorgeous), but also because I thought it sounded like such a delicious, elegant recipe. Yet for some reason, I never found the time to make it. Then, one Tuesday evening, my mom came home from the CSA (something that white people do) with a bag full of tiny pears, and I vowed that I would finally take the time to make this recipe.

Honestly, I don't know why I didn't make it before - it really doesn't take much time at all, since you can poach the pears and make the batter basically simultaneously. It was very tasty, although different than I expected. The texture was much more substantial and cake-like than past souffles I've made, but I don't think I overcooked it. Also, as you can see from contrasting my photos with Tartelette's, the pears didn't collapse into the cake but rather baked inside it. Whatever, it didn't matter, it still tasted delicious. And seriously, if you didn't already, go to the original recipe page and look at the photos, they are stunning. No wonder I remembered this recipe for almost two years.

Poached Pear And Almond Fallen Souffle Cakes
From Tartelette

Makes 6

Note: you can core the pears from the bottom to about 1 inch from the top with an apple corer but these are so tiny that I just removed the stem button at the bottom. Everything else in the core baked to very soft texture and the seeds were easy to remove while eating (kind of like tails on baked shrimp).

For the poached pears:
6 mini d'Anjou pears, peeled (or other small pears like Forelles or Seckel)
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2-3 cloves
2-3 cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
5-6 allspice berries
1-2 star anise
1/2 lemon
4 cups (1 liter) water

For the cakes:
3 tablespoons (40gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (190ml) heavy cream
1 cup ground almonds (blanched or skin on - your preference)
1/4 cup (40gr) sorghum flour (or use 1/4 cup all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder

Prepare the pears:
Place the pears, spices, lemon and water in tall saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower the heat and let them simmerfor 15-20 minutes or until the pears are just soft (poke with a toothpick to check).
Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and allow to cool on paper towel or baking rack.

Prepare the cakes:
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Slightly butter or spray 6 ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. Set aside.
In the bowl if an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffly (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one a time and beat well in between each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla, heavy cream, almonds, flour and baking powder and beat until incorporated. Fill each ramekins about 1/3 full with the batter and place a poached pear in the center.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.

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