These puffy pear soufflés have two surprises: bits of chopped pear, and pear brandy. The basic recipe and procedure could be used as a model for soufflés made with other fruits.
- Ripe Pears - 2 pounds, peeled, cored, and halved
- Sugar - 2-1/3 cups
- Water - 1-1/4 cups
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Pear Brandy - 2 teaspoons
- Egg Whites - 6
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Simmer the pears in a mixture of 1 cup of the sugar, 1 cup of the water, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice for 10 minutes. Drain pears; discard the liquid. When the pears are cool, chop 2 pears halves and set aside. Puree the rest of the pears. Cook the puree for about 4 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, to evaporate excess liquid. Set the puree aside.
Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar, 3 tablespoons of the water, and a dash of lemon juice and heat without stirring to 275 F on a candy thermometer (hard-ball stage) to form sugar syrup. Pour the hot syrup into the pear puree and mix well. Add pear brandy to the puree and let the mixture cool.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter six 4-inch (1 cup) soufflé molds and put some of the sugar in the molds; turn them to coat the sides and bottom with sugar, dumping out the excess. Beat the egg whites in a mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Whisk 2 tablespoons of beaten egg white into the puree to lighten it, then gently fold the puree into the remaining egg white. Fill the prepared molds half way with the batter. Sprinkle with half of the reserved chopped pear. Fill the molds nearly to the top, then sprinkle with the remaining chopped pear. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden.
To serve: Place a soufflé in its mold on each individual serving plate. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. The soufflés must be served immediately, hot out of the oven.