Frozen Nougat Soufflé

Additional recipe from Pairings, February 2007.

The companion recipe to Pairings, February 2007.

Adapted from Payard's Simply Sensational Desserts. This recipe makes 8 frozen soufflés, but you can serve just two for a Valentine's Day dessert and keep the rest in the freezer for up to a month. Allow at least 8 hours for soaking the raisins in rum, or soak them overnight before you make the soufflés. Then, the soufflés themselves must be frozen for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Frozen Nougat Soufflé
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum, such as Myers's
5 cups blanched sliced almonds
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon confectioner's sugar
10 large egg whites, preferably pasteurized, at room temperature,
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups heavy cream

Soak the raisins in the rum in a small, airtight container for at least 8 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to make the soufflés, preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the almonds and corn syrup in a medium bowl and toss until the almonds are coated. Spread the almonds on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Sift the confectioner's sugar through a fine-mesh sieve over the nuts. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the almonds turn light brown. Remove the nuts from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

Cut 8 (12-by-5-inch) strips of aluminum foil. Fold the strips in half lengthwise. Wrap one strip around each of eight (4-ounce) ramekins. The collars should extend about 1 inch above the rims of the ramekins. Secure the collars with tape.

Transfer the cooled almonds to a medium bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to break up the large nut clusters; set aside. Drain the raisins and set them aside.

In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at medium speed until foamy. Beat in the cream of tartar. Meanwhile, combine the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon water and the honey in a small saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 243ºF on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat and with the mixer on, pour the hot syrup over the whites, being careful to avoid the beater. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the whites form stiff peaks and are almost cool.

In another bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer at high speed to form soft peaks.

Using a large rubber spatula, fold a scoop of the beaten eggs into the whipped cream. Gently fold in the remaining whites; then fold in the raisins and almonds. Spoon the soufflé mixture into the ramekins, filling them to the tops of the collars. Freeze the soufflés for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Remove the collars just before serving.

Wine Recommendation: Chevalier recommends a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, a Rhône wine made from the Muscat Blanc grape, whose bouquet exudes peaches and orange blossoms. He likes the 2003 Jaboulet.

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