I came up with the idea of making this soufflé for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner to serve instead of just boiled Brussel Sprouts. I match it with cheese and Cranberry Sauce and it makes for a different presentation. You can either make individual soufflés or a big one for everyone and serve the Cranberry Sauce on the side. —Maria Teresa Jorge
Juniper Berries Crushed
all purpose flour
butter cut up in small pieces
clean Brussel Sprouts, trimmed
eggs, seperated and at room temperature
fresh Sheep Ricotta, drained
grated parmesan cheese
Gruyère cheese grated
Streaked bacon not smoked, cut in small dices
butter for ramekins
breadcrumbs for ramekins
In This Recipe
Put the fresh sheep ricotta in a sieve over a bowl and let drain. Melt the butter for the ramekins and with a pastry brush butter the bottom and the sides, bringing the butter up the sides in a vertical movement. Add the breadcrumbs to cover bottom and sides. Set aside.
Put the milk on low simmer and let infuse with the bay leaf, crushed juniper berries, cloves, and onion. When it comes to a boil, let simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 30 minutes. Strain into a clean container, you should have less then 1 cup of milk.
Meanwhile trim the Brussel sprouts so you only have the light green leaves. Put 2 pots with water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the sprouts and cook for 3 minutes. Remove to the other pan and boil for an extra 3 minutes. This process is to avoid the bitterness of the sprouts. Remove and put in a bowl with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
Start the bechamel sauce - in a pan melt the butter, add the flour and stir with a whisk. Remove from heat and add the warm milk infusion, stir well and let cook for 12 minutes. Let cool about 3 minutes and add the egg yolks one at a time whisking well. Let cool.
Cut the bacon in very small dices and fry until crispy. Transfer to a paper kitchen towl and let dry from the fat. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF with rack in the second shelf.
Chop the drained Brussel Sprouts in half, put in a food processor and pulse about 8 times. They will still be in little pices not creamed.
Add the cooled Bechamel sauce, the drained ricotta, the cream, the parmesan, half the Gruyère, salt, freshly grated white pepper and pulse to combine all the ingredients well. Check the seasoning. Transfer the Brussel Sprout cream to a big clean bowl and mix in half of the fried bacon.
Bring a kettle of water to a boil and prepare a pan for the bain-marie.
In a very clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
Fold into the Brussel sprouts cream 1/3 of the egg whites, then carefully fold in another 1/3 and finally the remainder. Check the seasoning.
Divide the soufflé batter in the ramekins (or an individual bigger one). Sprinkle on top with the remainder Gruyère cheese and the other half of the fried bacon. Clean the tops of the ramekins with a wet clean tea towel and put in a baking tray. Fill with boiling water to 2/3 and cook in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes if in individual ramekins or 40 minutes for a bigger mould.
DO NOT OPEN OVEN WHILE COOKING and make sure you don't have drafts in the kitchen.
When cooked, open the oven door slowly, let the hot air and humidity come out slowly before you open the door completely and remove the baking tray. Remove each ramekin from the bain-marie and put on a cooling rack.
Run a knife round the inside of each ramekin to loosen the soufflé. Turn them out and turn them back again on to a serving plate on top of some cranberry sauce. Serve immediately.