Rice Soufflé with Pear
Rice soufflé flavored with pear schnapps is served with caramelized poached pears embedded in the top. A sweetened purée of berries — your choice — adds color.
- Long-Grain Rice - 1 cup
- Milk - 1-1/2 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/2 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Sugar - 3 tablespoons
- Lemon peel - 1 strip
- Vanilla bean - 1, split
- Egg - 5, separated
- Pear schnapps - 3 tablespoons
- Softened butter and fine bread crumbs for mold
- Pears - 4
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Sugar - 1/4 cup s
- Champagne or sweet dessert wine - 1 split
- Red berries - 1 cup (strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1/3 cup
Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and add the rice. Bring the water back to a boil and boil 1 minute. Drain in a colander, then set the colander into a bowl of cold water for 1 minute. Remove and drain again.
Place the milk, cream, and butter in a saucepan with a tightly fitting lid and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and lemon peel. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the mixture, then add the pods. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and steam until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is soft, about 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pieces and lemon peel. Beat the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until frothy. Add the schnapps and beat until incorporated. Fold into the rice. Cover and chill.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 15-inch-by-3-inch mold and pour bread crumbs into the mold; turn the mold until coated with the crumbs, then dump out the extra. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and continue beating until they stand in firm peaks. Fold a large spoonful of egg whites into the cooled rice mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Fill the mold three-fourths full with the rice mixture. Place on a baking sheet and bake 35 to 40 minutes.
To prepare the pears: Peel the pears, leaving the stems attached. Melt the butter and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the Champagne. Poach the pears in this mixture until tender, 8 to 10 minutes, then remove and drain on a wire rack. Core the pears through the bottom. Continue to boil down the sugar mixture until it forms a deep golden caramel, but do not allow it to burn. Return the pears to the pot and glaze the pears with the caramel. Remove from heat and set aside to cool in the syrup.
To make the purée: If using strawberries, hull the berries. Purée the berries with the sugar in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and put in a squeeze bottle.
To serve: Scoop out four sections, roughly pear-shaped, from the top of the soufflé. Place a glazed pear in each scoop. Drizzle the remaining pear syrup over the pears and garnish with purée.