2014 was a crap year and I'm glad it's over. It started with the death of a good friend of ours and didn't ever really improve that much. There were plenty of problems, lots of losses, and several stresses. I know I could have, should have, turned all that negative energy into creative cooking but I didn't. I stopped caring what, or even if, we ate. We did a lot of heat-n-eat and take-out. I stopped cooking, and I stopped writing about it.
I, nay we, are in a better place now. Not perfect but better. And I've realized how much I've missed food. I started this blog on New Year's Day 2008 and I'm hereby reviving it today, exactly 7 years later. I'll admit there have been times when it seemed like work and it added stress to our lives. I'm not going to let that happen again. I'm going to let it be what I meant it to be from the beginning - an online compendium of our recipes, a journal of the time we share in the kitchen, and a fun way to improve my own cooking, writing, and photography.
What better way to restart than with a seeming challenge from the magazine Louisiana Cooking. The cover shot? "Make it at home: Commander's Palace Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé." Yeah, I know what you're thinking - a dessert. And a dessert so famous there's an employee at that restaurant who makes only these. Full time. Challenge accepted.
So on New Year's Eve, A Couple in the Kitchen spent the evening exactly there. We set a menu, we shopped, we prepped, we chopped, we cooked, we enjoyed, and yes, we even cleaned. And the challenging dessert? Creole bread pudding soufflé? The best dessert we've ever made. For rillz. Happy 2015!!! We are happy to be back.
Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé
(Adapted for two from Louisiana Cooking November/December 2014)
Pudding and soufflé:
Butter for greasing pan and soufflé dishes
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup raisins
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 tablespoon water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 cup bourbon
Make bread pudding: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a small baking pan with butter. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add egg and whisk until smooth; add cream and vanilla and stir to combine. Add bread cubes, and let soak until mixture is absorbed. Scatter raisins into prepared pan and top with bread mixture. Bake until golden brown and firm, about 25 minutes. Let cool.
Make whiskey sauce: In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Bring cream to a boil In a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and return to a boil while continuing to whisk. Let simmer a few seconds meow and remove from heat. Stir in sugar and bourbon and cool to room temperature.
Make soufflé: Grease 2 soufflé dishes with butter and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until foamy. Slowly add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until meringue is shiny and thick with stiff peaks.
Assemble: Crumble half of bread pudding into a bowl. Gently fold in 1/4 of meringue. Add a portion of this into each prepared ramekin. Crumble the remaining bread pudding into the bowl and fold in the rest of the meringue. Top the soufflés with this mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Poke a hole in the top of each soufflé and pour in whiskey sauce. Serve immediately.