Saturday, January 27, 2007
Everyone who cooks has at least one cookbook that they turn to for comfort. Maybe it is their latest find. Maybe it is a comprehensive cookbook with a lot of recipes. Mine is my first cookbook. I received it as a gift for my bridal shower when I was 21 years old. I lived at home until I got married and never cooked a meal for myself until I moved out. I love Italian cooking and I registered for Trattoria by Patricia Wells and made my first several dinners from that book.
I happened to pull it off of the bookshelf the other day. When I was flipping through it I found a recipe for Tortino Gorgonzola (Individual Gorgonzola Souffles). I immediately thought it would be a good choice to make for this month's Hay, Hay It's Donna blogging event hosted by Running with Tweezers. The theme is Souffles. I have never eaten, let alone baked, a souffle before. So it seemed fitting that the recipe I chose is from the same cookbook I cooked my first official dinner from.
This recipe challenged me a bit. First of all, it serves 8 and I am only 1, so I decided to half it. Actually, when I saw that the Gorgonzola is sold is 4 ounce packages, that confirmed my decision to half it. But 5 eggs are called for! I had to half one egg! And not only that, I had to separate the yolk from the whites of this half egg. It was amusing.
Also, I do not have 1/2 cup ramekins, I have 1 cup ramekins. So I had to double the amounts in the ramekins of my half recipe. More amusement. Of course the cooking time needed to increase, but I just watched until "the souffles are well risen and the tops are browned" as instructed and they came out fine. The souffle was well risen but I just didn't get a picture of it fast enough. There is a good reason 1/2 cup ramekins are suggested however. The souffle is VERY RICH! I could only eat about 2/3rds of one until I absolutely had to put my fork down. So the doggies got what was left from that one plus the whole other souffle. For future reference, do souffles reheat well? I assume they do not.
I enjoyed the individual souffle with a small salad and a wonderful 2004 Dierberg Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley that my wine guy suggested when I told him what I was making. He told me it would be good but it was great. Definitely one of the best Pinot Noirs I have ever tasted, and I have tasted many because Pinot Noir is my favorite red wine. I almost choked on it when I was reading the back of the bottle as I sat enjoying my dinner. It was at that time I noticed the price tag: $42.99. The wine guy kept me too busy talking about the souffle I was going to make and I forgot to ask him about the price point of the wine! What a trickster. I'm going to have to watch him from now on. And at that price I figured it might not taste as good if I saved any of it, so I drank the whole bottle and made cupcakes!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Thoroughly butter the bottoms and sides of eight 1/2-cup (125-ml) ramekins.
In a large saucepan, combine the cream, salt, and pepper, and scald over moderately high heat, bringing the mixture just to the boiling point. Reduce the heat to low, and add the flour all at once, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. The sauce will thicken almost immediately. Remove from the heat, and stir in the egg yolks one by one. Then add the Gorgonzola, and stir until the cheese melts into the cream mixture. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites until still but not dry. Whisk one-third of the egg shites into the souffle mixture and combine thoroughly. (Do not be concerned about deflating the egg whites at this point.) With a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining whites. Do this slowly and patiently. Do not over mix, but be sure that the mixture is well blended and almost no streaks of white remain.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins, filling them three-quarters full, and smoothing out the tops with a spatula. Place the ramekins on a heavy-duty baking sheet and place in the center of the oven. Bake until the souffles are well risen and the tops are browned, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and place each ramekin on a small salad plate. Serve immediately.