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Apricot and Vanilla Bean Souffles with Creme Anglaise

Courtesy of Chef, Author and Blogger, David Lebovitz:

There are a lot of reasons to like David Lebovitz because he’s a genuine, funny and considerate person. He also happens to be a really good chef! And, he has been generous with sharing a fair number of recipes posted on my site, which I truly appreciate.

This soufflé recipe highlights the intensity of dried apricots, which are thankfully available all-year.  Be sure to use California Blenheim apricots rather than the Turkish apricots as they are dried quite differently in their respective locations and — dare I say it — the Blenheims are a whole lot tastier.

One detail I noticed when I made this recipe recently, is that my apricots weren’t super tangy. Consequently, the souffles were a little too sweet for my taste. My suggestion is to add 1 less tablespoon of sugar to the apricot blend as you’ll want the 3 tablespoons of sugar when you whip the egg whites. After blending, taste it again. If it’s a little tart, add extra sugar over the souffles before baking. If it’s just right, or still a little sweet, barely sprinkle extra sugar over the souffles.  Also, I highly recommend that you don’t skip the Crème Anglaise, as it compliments the souffles perfectly.



Apricot and Vanilla Bean Souffles with Creme Anglaise



For the Crème Anglaise

1 cup milk

1/2 Rain’s Choice Vanilla Bean, split

3 tablespoons sugar

pinch of salt

3 large egg yolks

For the Soufflés

2 ounces dried apricots from California (not Turkish)

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 Rain’s Choice Vanilla Bean, split

1 large egg yolk

3 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract

4 large egg whites, at room temperature


For the crème anglaise, heat the milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk. Once warm, remove from heat, cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Prepare an ice bath by setting a metal bowl in another bowl that has been partially filled with ice.

In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warmed milk, whisking constantly. Stir the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Cook over low to moderate heat, stirring constantly with a heat proof spatula until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula. Immediately strain the custard into the bowl set over ice, removing the vanilla bean. Stir until cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Crème anglaise will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days).

For the soufflés, heat the apricots in a small saucepan with the wine, and vanilla bean until the liquid begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 7 minutes. Remove from heat, cover the pan, and let stand 45 minutes until the apricots are tender.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter 4 ramekins or oven proof custard cups.

Remove the vanilla bean, then puree the cooked apricots (and any liquid remaining), the egg yolk and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in a food processor. Transfer into a medium-sized bowl and stir in the vanilla extract.

In a clean metal bowl, begin whipping the egg whites until they form soft, drooping peaks.

Gradually whip in the 3 tablespoons of sugar and continue whipping until the meringue forms stiff, but wet peaks. Beat one-quarter of the meringue into the apricot puree, then gently fold in the remaining meringue.

Heap the soufflé mixture into the ramekins. Sprinkle the tops with additional granulated sugar. Set the soufflés on a baking sheet and bake in the upper part of the oven for 9 minutes until the tops are brown. Serve immediately, with a pitcher of cold crème anglaise.

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Patricia Rain
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