- 2 1/2 ounces (70 g) California dried apricots halves (about 15), snipped in half
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) plus 3 tablespoons (45 g) sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 large egg yolk
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- Add the apricot pieces and white wine to a small saucepan.
- Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the saucepan, then drop in the pod.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the apricots begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand until the apricots are tender, about 45 minutes.
- Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
- Butter four 4-ounce (125-ml) ramekins or souffle molds.
- Pour some sugar into each and tilt the ramekin to coat the sides; gently tap out any excess.
- Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.
- Remove the vanilla bean from the saucepan (it can be rinsed, dried, and used for another purpose; see page 14).
- In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender, process the apricots and their soaking liquid, along with 3 tablespoons (45 g) sugar and the egg yolk until smooth.
- Transfer the puree to a medium bowl.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or in a bowl by hand), whisk together the egg whites and salt on low speed until frothy.
- Increase the speed to high, gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons (45 g) sugar, and continue whisking until the whites form shiny, stiff peaks.
- Fold one-quarter of the whipped egg whites into the apricot puree, then gently fold in the remaining whites, taking care not to deflate them.
- A few streaks of egg whites are preferable to an overfolded and deflated souffle mixture.
- Divide the souffle mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins (dont worry if the mixture rises a little above the rims), then sprinkle with a light, even dusting of sugar.
- Bake until the tops are browned and the souffles quiver softly when gently nudged, about 9 minutes.
- Serve the souffles right away.
- Pass a pitcher of Raspberry Sauce (page 246), creme anglaise (page 237), or White Chocolate Sauce (page 244) at the table for pouring into the souffles.