Gingerbread Souffles with Vanilla Sauce

  • Yield: 8 servings


Vanilla sauce:
2cups half-and-half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
1/3cup sugar
4 egg yolks
2tablespoons high quality bourbon, such as Woodford Reserve
1/4cup unsalted butter
1/4cup all-purpose flour
1cup milk
2/3cup sugar
1/4cup molasses
2tablespoons dark rum
2teaspoons powdered ginger
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
5 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/2teaspoon cream of tartar


For the sauce:

  1. Combine the half-and-half, vanilla bean and vanilla seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, then take the pan from the heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks, then gradually whisk in the hot half-and-half.
  3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon over medium-low heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes. (Do not boil the sauce or the egg will curdle.)
  4. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a small bowl and stir in the bourbon.
  5. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until fully chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the souffles:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Butter eight 8-ounce ramekins. Coat the insides evenly with sugar and shake out the excess. Put the dishes on a large baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth and bubbly, about 2 minutes.
  5. Gradually whisk the milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly until the milk is thickened and the mixture is smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Take the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, molasses, rum, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  7. Let the mixture cool until warm, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks and set aside.
  8. Whip the egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until the whites are stiff, but not dry.
  9. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture in 3 additions.
  10. Divide the batter among the prepared dishes and run the tip of a knife around the top of the mixture, about 1/2 inch from the edge to facilitate crowning.
  11. Bake the souffles until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.
  12. Serve right away, making an indentation in the souffles and drizzing in the sauce.

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Junior League of Seattle, Celebrate the Rain, Cooking with the Fresh & Abundant Flavors of the Pacific Northwest (The Junior League of Seattle, 2004)