Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blue Cheese Souffles with Black Grape Reduction

Saw some beautiful black grapes in the store and since I still had some of those wonderful brown eggs I decided to take a try at something I had in the To Try Pile of recipes.

Maytag Blue Cheese Souffles with Black Grape Reduction

Yield: Serves 6 as a cheese course or first course


For grape reduction
3 cups black grapes
1/2 cup water

For soufflés
3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts (preferably black walnuts*)
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk
1/4 pound Maytag Blue cheese
2 large egg whites
1 cup black grapes


Make grape reduction:
In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan simmer grapes in water, uncovered, 30 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer liquid to cleaned pan and gently boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Keep sauce warm, covered. Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat sauce to warm before serving.

Make soufflés:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Butter six 1/4-cup ramekins (2 1/2 by 1 1/4 inches) and coat with walnuts, knocking out excess walnuts.

In another 1 1/2-quart saucepan heat milk and butter over moderate heat until butter is melted and bring to a boil. Add flour all at once and whisk vigorously until mixture returns to a boil. Transfer mixture to a bowl and whisk until it no longer emits steam. Whisk in yolk (mixture will be very stiff). Break half of Maytag Blue into small pieces and with a rubber spatula stir into flour mixture.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks and whisk half of whites into cheese mixture to lighten. Add remaining whites and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will be dense).

Divide batter among ramekins and arrange in a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins and bake soufflés in middle of oven until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Break remaining half Maytag Blue into chunks. Invert soufflés, 1 at a time, onto a large plate and turn right side up.  Spoon sauce around soufflés and arrange grapes and remaining cheese on plates.  

I've never made a souffle of anything before so this was an excellent recipe to try. I halved the recipe so if there was a disaster I wouldn't be wasting much in the way of eggs or blue cheese. The mini souffles turned out light and savory with blue cheese while the grape reduction balanced out the savory with just a hint of sweet. I think I'm ready to step up to a big chocolate souffle.


Making Space said...

That's purty.

My grandma used to have black walnut trees. I've never seen then anywhere but in her yard. Cool!

Dani said...

I would love to try a souffle! I've always steered away from them because they seem so hard to do.

Big Shamu said...

Can you whip egg whites to stiff peaks? If so, that's really the hardest part and I guess timing. If you're making them for a party or guests, timing is the biggest issue to serving them while they are still puffy and tall. But as long as you have willing and patient food testers you should give them a try.
MS, KC seems to be full of black walnut trees which would explain our overabundance of squirrels.

Buzz Kill said...

I too have never made a soufflé. This looks great (the pictures are awesome). I got a little confused as to what you did at the end "Top each brioche round with a soufflé." Where did the brioche round come from? Nice job though.

Big Shamu said...

Buzz, the original recipe has the souffles sitting on little cutouts of brioche. I didn't do that (not sure I understand the point of the brioche) so I edited the brioche out. Missed a line so thanks for pointing that out.

LaDivaCucina said...

Damn, girl, that looks soooo good. I love blue cheese. I, too, was worried about doing a souffle but when I made that corn spoon bread a while back, it was like an American souffle. I think I would give these a shot and I like the fact that you made minis.

yes, grasshopper, you may now go to chocolate souffle level.

The grape looks so rich too....mmm....but would Michael Chiarelli approve?

LaDivaCucina said...

Oh yeah. I remember as a kid being given a huge bag of black walnuts and having to break the shells with a hammer in the garage. Aren't they a bugger to break?

Big Shamu said...

Michael would only approve if I served wine from his vineyard along side the mini souffles.

moi said...

The first time I saw a walnut tree was in Missouri. That outer covering is so cool! Despite my skepticism about cooking with grapes, I must say, this looks pretty gosh darn good. And your first photo of that grape is magazine cover worthy. Nice!

I've only ever made a chocolate souffle, which is basically a mousse with more egg whites whipped in. Which to me eventually begs the question: why not just stick with the mousse?

Kevin said...

These sound so amazingly good!

Big Shamu said...

Thanks so much Kevin. I invite you to join Dim Sum Sunday...when we get back to doing them in the new year. Check out Kevin's blog, it will make you hungry.