Recipe: Baked Apple Souffle

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Baked Apple Souffle

12 servings

In "All the Presidents' Pastries," chef Roland Mesnier included this sweet and tangy reduced-calorie souffle as a favorite of George H.W. Bush's. But the chef says he had worked on refining the recipe "since the Reagan administration." Mesnier often served this as a luncheon dessert, decorated with a small baked pâte-à-choux crown and cooked apple slices.

The recipe can be halved; use 3 egg whites and a single souffle baking dish. Adapted from Mesnier's book (Flammarion, 2007).

3 to 4 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes (enough to yield 3 1/2 cups puree)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for dusting the baking dishes

1/2 cup orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Center a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two 4- to 5-cup souffle baking dishes and sprinkle generously with sugar. Lightly grease 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Boil a kettle of water and set aside.

Place the cubed apples on the baking sheets and bake about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the apples to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Measure 3 1/2 cups of the puree and place in a large bowl. (Reserve any remaining puree for another use.) Add 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) of the sugar and the liqueur, cornstarch and vanilla extract, stirring to mix well. Set aside.

Use an electric mixer on high speed to beat the egg whites for a few minutes, until they form soft peaks. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar in a small, steady stream, beating constantly, until stiff peaks are formed.

Gently fold about one-third of the egg white mixture into the apple puree mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg white mixture. Divide the batter between the two souffle dishes, smoothing the tops with a spatula. Place the souffles in a large roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Pour enough hot water (from the kettle) to come up at least 1 inch on the outside of the baking dishes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the souffles have risen and are firm to the touch. (Do not rotate the position of the baking dishes if one souffle browns more than the other, says Mesnier.) Transfer the souffle baking dishes to a wire rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, either spoon the souffles from the baking dishes or place a serving dish on top of each souffle, then invert and gently shake to release. Serve immediately, with whipped cream, if desired.

Per serving: 174 calories, 2 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, 25 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Vanessa Williams; e-mail questions

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