May 14, 2015
Serves: 4 to 6
French Toast Soufflé
1 day-old loaf challah bread, most of the crust removed, cut into 1-inch dice
8 large eggs
8 ounces softened Neufchatal cheese or Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup pure cane sugar
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ cups whole milk
¾ cup heavy cream
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
Raspberries, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 250F. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet in an even layer and bake, turning once, until the bread is dry, about 30 minutes. Remove and let cool on a baking rack on the sheet pan for 1 hour and up to 8 hours (the bread will continue to get drier and drier which is perfect for this soufflé).
2. Combine the eggs and cheese in a blender or food processor until smooth. (It is very important that the cream cheese be soft and at room temperature so that the custard is very smooth.) Add the sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, zest, salt, milk and cream, and blend until smooth.
3. Butter a 2-quart soufflé dish and set aside. Put the bread cubes in a bowl, pour the custard mixture over, and mix, using a large rubber spatula, until all of the cubes are submerged in the custard, pressing down on the cubes to hold them under. Let sit for 10 minutes, continuing to press the bread down, if needed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared soufflé dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours (the longer it sits, the more it soufflés).
4. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the soufflé on the lower third rack until it's puffed, the top is golden brown, and the center is slightly soft, 55-60 minutes. Remove the soufflé from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on a baking rack. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately, drizzled with the maple-orange butter sauce and topped with a spoonful of the Champagne whipped cream (recipes below).
Maple-Orange Butter Sauce
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1½ cups pure Grade B maple syrup
1 stick very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Pinch of sea salt
1. Put the orange juice in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until thick and syrupy and reduced to ¼ cup. Reduce the heat to medium, add the maple syrup, and bring to a simmer.
2. Begin whisking in the butter, cube by cube, until emulsified. Add the zest and salt, transfer to a bowl, and keep warm away from the stove.
Champagne Whipped Cream
1 cup very cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup very cold sparkling wine, such as prosecco
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla in a large, chilled bowl and, using a balloon whisk, whip until soft peaks form. Add the sparkling wine and whisk until combined. Serve immediately.