- About 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, for the ramekins
- 2 tablespoons sugar for the ramekins
- 2 4 -inch sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pounds tart apples (about 6 large), such as Granny Smith, Jonagold, or Braeburn, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 2 -inch piece cinnamon stick
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 3 large egg yolks
- Optional: 2 tablespoons Calvados or Cognac
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 cup herb-infused Custard Sauce made with fresh bay laurel leaves or rosemary, and vanilla (recipe follows)
- 2 cups herb-infused whole milk (recipe follows)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 cups whole milk, plus an additional 2 tablespoons if needed
- You choice of herb (see in main souffle recipe above)
- Prepare the molds.
- Generously coat the interiors of 8 6-ounce straight-sided ramekins with the softened butter using a pastry brush or your fingers.
- Pour 2 tablespoons sugar into 1 dish and turn it until all surfaces are coated, then tip the sugar out into the next and repeat the process until allthe ramekins have a thorough coating of butter and sugar.
- Set the prepared molds in a large shallow baking pan or on a half-sheet pan.
- Tie the rosemary sprigs together with kitchen twine, wrapping the twine in a spiral upt he length of the stems to keep the needles from falling off in the sauce.
- Put 3/4 cup sugar in a 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and place it over medium-high heat.
- When the sugar begins to melt, stir it with a wooden spoon.
- it will form big lumps at first, but keep cooking and stirring until all the sugar is dissolved and you have a smooth amber syrup.
- As soon as it reaches this stage, add 2 tablespoons butter and stir until it is melted and incorporated.
- Add the apples and stir.
- The caramel will harden and form lumps again, but once the sauce cooks it will dissolve.
- Add the rosemary bundle, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean.
- Stir in the vanilla extract if using.
- Puree the mixture with a handheld immersion blender, in a food processor, or by passing it through a food mill.
- You shouldhave a deep brown sauce that is thick enough to hold its shape in a mound.
- (This applesauce can be stored covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
- Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
- Egg whites.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and liquor if suing into the applesauce.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue to beat tuntil they form stiff peaks.
- Using a large rubber spatula, fold one-third of the whites into the apple mixture until it is thoroughly incorporated, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Tilt the bowl over the preapred souffle cups and, using the rubber spatula to carefully guide the mixture, fill the dishes to 1/2 inch of the top.
- Wipe up any spills ont he sides of the dishes and, using your thumb, wipe off any mixture that is touching the rims.
- If the souffle bakes onto any buttered surface at the top of dish, it will stick and prevent it from rising straight up.
- At this point the souffles can be held up to 1 hour at room temperature.
- Put the baking pan holding the souffles in the oven and pour about 1/2 inch hot tap water into the pan.
- Bake until the souffles are nicely browned and risen about 1 1/2 inches, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Using tongs or oven mitts, immediately transfer the hot dishes to individual serving plates and rush them to the tables with pitchers of the custard sauce.
- Each guest should break open their souffle in the middle and pour in some of the custard.
- Variation For a large souffle, pour the batter into a 1 1/2-quart souffle dish, generously coated with butter and sugar.
- Bake the souffle in a shallow water bath at 375 degrees F. until the top is browned and risen about 1 1/2 inches above the rim, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Heating the milk and warming the yolks.
- Pour the milk and sugar into a small (1 to 2-quart) saucepan and set it over medium heat.
- Put the egg yolks in a medium stainless-steel mixing bowl and float that bowl in a larger bowl half full of hot tap water.
- Whisk the yolks until they are lukewarm, about 90 degrees to 100 degrees F. (it will take less than 1 minute), then lift the bowl out of the water.
- Cooking the custard.
- The instant the milk mixture comes to a rolling boil and rises in the pan, lift it off the heat.
- With the whisk in one hand and the saucepan in the other, pour the boiling milk into the egg yolks as you whisk constantly but gently.
- Continue to gently stir the sauce with the whisk for 30 seconds.
- At this point it should be fully cooked.
- An instant-read theremometer set in the sauce should register 170 degrees to 180 degrees F. It should coat a teaspoon, but it will become much thicker when it cools.
- (If for some reason the sauce did not get hot enough to thicken, you can place the bowl on top of a saucepan of boiling water and stir it with a rubber spatula until it reaches 170 degrees F. Do not heat the sauce above 180 degrees F. or it will curdle.)
- Now whisk the sauce rapidly for 30 seconds to cool it and then pour it through a fine sieve.
- Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Yield: 2 1/2 cups
- Pour the milk into a small (1 to 2-quart) saucpean and place it over medium-high heat.
- Watch the pan carefully.
- As soon as hte milk comes to a full boil, add the herbs and any additional flavoring, push them under the surface of the pan and let the herbs steep for 30 minutes.
- If they steep longer, it will have little effect on the flavor, but you should uncover the pan so that the milk can cool faster.
- Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup, pressing down firmly on the herbs with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid from the leaves.
- Add fresh milk if needed to measure 2 cups.