Waldviertel Poppy Seed Soufflé with Berry Compote
Airy soufflés filled with poppy seeds and walnuts are served with a berry compote. Cranberries substitute for the tart red Austrian berries used by Chef Osterreicher; those berries are not available abroad.
- Berry Compote
- Raspberries - 1/2 cup
- Blackberries - 1/2 cup
- Cranberries - 1 cup
- Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- Sugar - 3 cups
- Boiling Water - 1 cup
- Granulated Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Milk - scant 1 cup
- Rum - 1 tablespoon
- Poppy Seeds - 1/2 cup, ground
- Unsalted Butter - 6 tablespoons, at room temperature
- Vanilla Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Cinnamon to taste
- Eggs - 4, separated
- Pinch of salt
- Fine dry cake crumbs - 2 cups
- Walnuts - 1/3 cup, grated
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
To prepare the compote: Combine the half of the raspberries and blackberries, and 1 cup of the sugar in a bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the berries to release their juice. Put the berries and juice, cranberries, zest, and remaining sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Pour the boiling water over the berries. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover; cook until the mixture has thickened and the fruit is nearly falling apart, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the reserved raspberries and blackberries. Set aside; keep warm. The compote may be made earlier in the day, and rewarmed before serving. Add the reserved berries just before rewarming.
To prepare the soufflés: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter 4 small ramekins, about 4 inches tall by 2-1/2 inches in diameter; using half of the granulated sugar, put sugar in each ramekin and roll it around to coat, then dump the sugar out and move to the next ramekin. Set the ramekins aside.
Bring the milk and rum to a boil over medium heat. Add the poppy seeds. Cook until the mixture is thick and no liquid remains. Remove from heat. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, remaining half of the granulated sugar, vanilla sugar, and cinnamon together until fluffy. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Add the poppy seed mixture and stir to blend. In a deep bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Fold a large spoonful of egg whites into the poppy seed mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Fold in the crumbs and grated walnuts. Fill the prepared ramekins with the soufflé mixture and smooth the tops, and place the ramekins in a large baking pan. Fill the pan two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins with warm water. Bake 12 to 15 minutes; make sure the oven is heating from the bottom unit only. The soufflés are finished when the tops are golden brown and look nearly dry. Remove from the oven.
To serve: Unmold a ramekin to one side on each dessert dish. Spoon berry compote onto the plates. Dust the soufflés with confectioner’s sugar. Garnish with a sprig of mint.