They may be light as air, but these tender soufflés -- flavored with fresh pineapple purée and topped with a small scoop of spiced Thai curry ice cream -- are rich in color and flavor, and make for a dramatic presentation.
The dessert, from Gordon Ramsay at the London in West Hollywood, recently caught the eye of assistant Food editor Betty Hallock. "These soufflés have such spectacular flavor. I love the contrasts of the textures too, light-as-air soufflé with the rich, creamy ice cream."
This recipe will make spectacular finish to any dinner party, but it's also extremely involved. You can make the ice cream and the base for the soufflé ahead of time.
Pineapple soufflé with Thai curry ice cream Total time: 2 hours, plus freezing time for the ice cream Servings: 12 Note: Adapted from Gordon Ramsay at the London in West Hollywood. To make ground toasted coconut, place a thin layer of unsweetened shredded or grated coconut in a large sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat until golden, shaking the pan frequently to avoid burning. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, then grind using a coffee grinder or food processor. Thai curry ice cream 1 (2 1/2 -inch) piece fresh galangal, peeled and chopped 1 large stalk lemon grass, chopped 12 kaffir lime leaves 1 (3-inch) piece fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped 1 (3 1/2 -inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped 1 small Thai chili, stemmed and diced 8 sprigs fresh cilantro stems 2 cups heavy cream 2 cups milk 10 egg yolks 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar 1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the galangal, lemon grass, lime leaves, turmeric, ginger, chili and cilantro and process until puréed. Alternatively, pound the ingredients, one at a time, in a mortar and pestle and then mash together to form a coarse curry paste. 2. In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, combine the curry paste with the heavy cream and milk and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. 3. While the milk comes to a simmer, whisk together the yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. 4. Whisk 1 cup of the milk mixture into the egg yolks to warm them, then add the egg yolks to the simmering milk. 5. Stirring frequently, heat the mixture just until it thickens to a custard. 6. Strain the custard into a bowl set over a bowl of ice water; stir until custard cools completely. 7. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. This makes 5 cups of ice cream, more than is needed for the soufflé recipe. Pineapple reduction 1 large pineapple, about 4 1/2 pounds 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon water 1. Peel and core the pineapple, then chop it into large pieces. Purée the pieces in a blender until smooth. 2. Place the purée in a strainer lined with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Gather up the cheesecloth and gently squeeze, draining the juice until you have 1 1/2 cups purée remaining. (Save the juice for another use.) 3. In a shallow, heavy-bottom saucepan, stir together the sugar with 1 tablespoon water. Heat the mixture over medium heat until the sugar melts and caramelizes, 5 to 7 minutes. 4. Stir in the pineapple purée and cook stirring frequently, until the pineapple has cooked down and is golden in color, about 15 minutes. When you first stir in the purée with the sugar, the sugar will harden temporarily; it will re-melt and incorporate with the pineapple as the pineapple cooks down. Remove from the heat to a small bowl to cool, then cover and refrigerate until needed. You should have three-fourths cup pineapple, slightly more than is needed for the soufflé. Soufflé base 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces 3 egg yolks 1. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, bring the milk, vanilla pod and seeds to a fast simmer over high heat. 2. While the milk warms, combine the sugar, flour and butter in a medium bowl; rub together with your fingers to form a crumble. 3. Remove the vanilla pod from the simmering milk and stir in the crumble. Cook, making sure to stir the sides and bottom to prevent burning, until the mix forms a paste and begins to ball up. Continue cooking until you see a thin, dry film on the bottom of the pan, about 6 minutes. 4. Put the mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and, with the mixer running, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue to whisk the mixture until the soufflé base has cooled to room temperature. Set aside, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Soufflé assembly 2/3 cup ground toasted coconut 1 1/3 cups plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided Softened butter for greasing the ramekins 10 egg whites Soufflé base Pineapple reduction 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 cup Thai curry ice cream 1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the coconut with two-thirds cup sugar. Lightly butter the sides of each of 12 (4-ounce) ramekins, then dust with the coconut-sugar mixture. 2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites and remaining two-thirds cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar to medium peaks. 3. In a separate large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, whisk together the soufflé base and pineapple reduction until warm. Remove from heat; stir in the lemon juice until combined. 4. Fold the egg whites in gently. Bake until puffed and light-golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. 5. Top each soufflé with a small scoop of ice cream. Serve immediately. Each of 12 servings: 278 calories; 6 grams protein; 42 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 10 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 104 mg. cholesterol; 67 mg. sodium.