Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lemon Ricotta Souffles with Mixed Berry Sauce

With a week since my last post, I bet you thought I had already begun neglecting my mission at pushing myself in the kitchen. No way jose! Not this time! Despite a busy and extremely draining week, I forced myself into the kitchen yesterday morning, all the while rubbing my sleepy eyes, to challenge myself with my very first attempt at making souffles! All week long I had been wanting to make a recipe I had bookmarked by award-winning cookbook author Nick Malgieri to use up some leftover bakers cheese (a dense, pressed cottage cheese, that is similar to the texture of very crumbly feta). Malgieri's recipe for Sweet Cheese Souffle with Compote of Cherries sounded delicious and actually quite healthy, and although he had used ricotta, I knew my bakers cheese would work perfectly in this light and airy dessert. Because this dish is light and not too sweet, I thought it would make the perfect sweet breakfast to start off one of the first beautiful Spring days in Toronto.

I decided to slightly tweak the recipe to cater to my taste a bit more. Instead of having a mixed citrus flavour in the souffle, I decided to only use lemon to create a more pure flavour, while also adding some of the juice and increasing the amount used. I also added a touch of vanilla extract, to add another subtle layer of flavour. I turned to one of my go-to sweet sauce recipes to use instead of Malgieri's Cherry Compote. Because I wanted to place my attention primarily on the souffles (you can imagine my near-paralyzing fear that they would sink), I wanted to make a sauce that I was 100% confident with, so my quick and easy Mixed-Berry Sauce was the perfect choice.

After hearing horror story after horror story about the dreaded sinking souffle, I was almost positive that mine would do the same. To my utter amazement the souffles turned out incredible. The light and airy little cakes puffed up gloriously above the ramekins, their golden tops begging for a spoon to be dunked in! They were the perfect amount of sweetness, with a hit of zesty citrus flavour from the lemon. The warm berry sauce oozed in and around the souffle, dying the cakes a stunning deep red, and keeping each bite moist. This is definitely a dessert I will be making again. It was incredibly easy, very impressive looking, outstandingly delicious, and best and most surprising of all, its quite healthy! With only a small amount of sugar used, this gluten free dessert, is the perfect option for cheesecake lovers looking to lighten up their favourite dish! And lets not forget all those antioxidants hidden inside those juicy berries!

Lemon Ricotta Souffles
Adapted from Nick Malgieri at
1/3 cup ricotta or bakers cheese (pressed cottage cheese)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
the zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
boiled water (for baking)

1. Set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 400ยบ. Grease and lightly coat with sugar 4 8-ounce ramekins, and place inside a roasting pan. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the ricotta (or bakers cheese) with the sour cream until well combined.

2. In a small bowl, stir together half of the sugar with the corn starch. Add to the cheese mixture, with the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and egg yolks. Whisk together until combined.

3. In the bowl of a clean and dry mixer, whisk the egg white with the salt on high until they hold a soft peak. Add the sugar, a little bit at a time, making sure it still holds a soft peak. Fold in about 1/3 of a cup of the egg white mixture into the cheese mixture. Working quickly, but delicately, fold in the cheese mixture into the egg white mixture.

4. Pour the mixture into the ramekins, leaving about 1/4-inch rim at the top. Pour boiled water into the roasting dish that the ramekins are set in, to a depth of about 1/2-inch. Bake the souffles until they have risen and are lightly golden on top, about 16-20 minutes. While souffles are baking, make the mixed berry sauce (see below). Serve souffles immediately with warm mixed berry sauce drizzled overtop.

Mixed Berry Sauce
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (any kinds you like!)
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp ice wine (optional)

1. Add the orange juice to a small sauce pan and set at medium heat. Add the berries and stir. Cook the berries, stirring occasionally, until they have softened.

2. Using a potato masher, mash the berries until the mixture is a pulp-like consistency. Pour the mixture into a fine sieve resting over a bowl, and push the juice through, straining out the seeds. Stir in the ice wine (optional) and pour overtop warm Lemon Ricotta Souffles.

Listening To:
Tommy James & The Shondells - Crimson and Clover

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