The work day and week has ended and it's Friday night. I'm driving up my street to the house on the left and my spot on the right side of the driveway. It's familiar. It's home. As soon as my key smoothly slides into the door it's as if I'm unlocking the weekend and lifting the weight of the world off my shoulders. Be gone.
Some people despise routines. I, on the other hand, love that familiar tone. Sure, it's nice to break free and try new things and be spontaneous, but it's also nice knowing what's happening without having to ask. Like Friday nights in my kitchen and dinner with my wife. It's the small stuff that matters to me. A thousand days worth of small stuff that fills up my memory and fuels me. All those yesterdays.
Nothing beats a dinner date with my wife. It's the perfect start to the weekend and the kind of jump start I need. I make dinner and drink wine and we talk about the week that's quickly put in the rear view mirror. Farther removed by the minute. My wife sits high atop the table in the kitchen and always comments about the aroma that peels from the stove and straight to her. And we laugh, as only we do. And I'm happy.
Tonight she wanted Chicken Parmesan, which is perfectly fine with me because I've made it so many times that I could do it blindfolded. Yet lost in the monotony of it is the happiness that the process brings me. Nothing takes away the stress of the week like the sounds made in the kitchen and the smell of fresh herbs and garlic in front of me. It's medication for me.
So while that was under control I thought about making dessert. I love warm desserts, especially when the weather takes on a course of its own. We're in the midst of fluctuating temperatures and an identity crisis. One moment it's hot, the next it's cold. Like the moment the clock welcomed the weekend. Instant wind and temperature drop. Solutions around the corner.
There are countless options to choose from when the weather dips: puddings, warm cakes, crumble or betty or cobbler, and of course soufflés. Glorious and beautiful and sensual soufflés. My mind quickly went from daydreaming to prep work. The quickest turnaround I could imagine, especially because my movements slow to a halt on weekends.
I thought about making a lemon soufflé, partly because it reminds me of spring and also my love of citrus desserts is legendary. Ok, it's known inside the walls of this house. Anyway, I had some raspberries left from the market and some raspberry jam in the fridge so it was meant to happen. Raspberry Soufflé.
I was fast at work making the soufflé and dreaming about how beautiful it would be! One problem. As the time ticked away on the clock my soufflé didn't want to rise. I sat there, like a child at the window wanting to join his friends playing outside but instead stuck inside and hopeless. I was eager. I was anxious. I closed my eyes and said a prayer to the soufflé Gods and like magic, or divine intervention, it started to lift from its slumber and stretch....and stretch.
There is something about a soufflé that reminds me of black and white movies and romance during the golden era. An act of chivalry and a moment of elegance. Two people sharing one spoon and tucking away at the mound of heaven in a bowl in front of them. Lost in time. In each other.
Much like my wife and I. Every beautiful weekend.
From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!
- 1 pint of raspberries (sauce)
- 1/3 cup icing sugar (sauce)
- 2 tbsp. butter, room temp.
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup raspberry jam, seedless
- 1/8 cup cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. water
- 4 egg whites
- 1/3 cup superfine sugar
- icing sugar, dusting
- raspberries, garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the raspberry sauce by placing the first two ingredients in the blender and pureeing until smooth. Push the sauce through a sieve and discard the seeds. Keep the sauce for later.
- Place the jam in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water and whisk until you have smooth syrup, add to the jam and stir. Stir constantly until the mixture resembles paste. Remove from heat.
- Brush room temperature butter around the ramekins and in upward strokes around the sides. Add in the granulated sugar and shake until coated and discard unused sugar. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes. Repeat the process a second time and place in the freezer again. Using a pastry brush, paint upward strokes with your raspberry sauce around the ramekin (4-6 strokes). Apply liberally but try not to disturb the sugar. Return to the freezer.
- Using a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and 1 tbsp. of the superfine sugar on high speed. As soon as the whites begin to thicken, add the remainder of the superfine sugar and continue to whisk on high until until you have stiff peaks.
- Mix the raspberry jam puree with one-third of the egg white mixture by folding them together. Do this gently as you're trying to create a light and airy mixture. Fold in the remainder of the egg white mixture and fold until combined.
- Remove the ramekins from the freezer and fill with mixture to the rim. Using a palette knife, cut the mixture across the top ensuring a level top.
- Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the souffle rises by almost double the size. Remove from oven and dust with icing sugar and garnish with a raspberry.
- Serves 2-3.