Sweet Semolina Soufflé

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

Semolina is the hard durum wheat used to make the best dried pastas. It is widely available at Italian markets and also by mail-order through many baking suppliers, such as The Baker’s Catalog. In countries around the Mediterranean, semolina also serves as the base for various sweet desserts. This soufflé is relatively dense and pudding-like.

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter and granulated sugar for the dishes
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1-inch piece of vanilla bean
  • 1 small cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 3-inch strip of orange peel
  • cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup coarse semolina flour
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped golden raisins, tossed with 1 teaspoon flour to lightly coat

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly butter six ½-cup ramekins, sprinkle lightly with sugar, and turn to evenly coat. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Combine the half-and-half, cardamom, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and orange peel in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to steep for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cream. Add the sugar and salt and return the liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk the semolina into the liquid in a steady stream, reduce the heat, and continue to stir until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks, then beat in a little of the semolina mixture to warm and temper them. Stir the yolk mixture into the rest of the semolina. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Stir a quarter of the egg whites into the semolina base to lighten the mixture and then fold in the remaining whites along with the zest and raisins. Spoon into the prepared ramekins and arrange in a baking pan just large enough to hold the ramekins without them touching. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to reach three-quarters up the sides of the dishes and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tops are puffed and golden brown. Remove from the pan and let them cool for a few minutes.

Unmold each soufflé by turning it out into your hand, and then place it right side up on a serving plate. Spoon on some berry puree and dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.

Garnish

If you like with powdered sugar or a lightly sweetened berry puree (just throw some fresh or frozen berries into the food processor with a little sugar; strain if you don’t like the little seeds or bits of skin), or both