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.
1 1/2 cups dry rosé wine
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 pitted prunes, quartered lengthwise
3 Bartlett pears—peeled, halved, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
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
Pinch of salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
How to Make It
Step 1 Prepare the Fruit
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.
Step 2 Prepare the Fruit
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.
Step 3 Prepare the Souffles
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.
Step 4 Prepare the Souffles
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.
Step 5 Prepare the Souffles
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.
Step 6 Prepare the Souffles
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.
Step 7 Prepare the Souffles
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.
Step 8 Prepare the Souffles
Invert the soufflés onto plates and spoon the prunes, pears and rosé syrup around them. Dust the soufflés with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
The poached prunes and pears in rosé syrup can be refrigerated overnight. Rewarm gently before proceeding. The baked almond soufflés can stand in their ramekins at room temperature for up to 2 hours before unmolding.
The toasted-almond flavor makes these soufflés just the right match for a sweet white Bordeaux from Barsac, the lesser-known sister region of Sauternes.
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