Wow- that is a lot of bacon! Yes indeedy!! I’m so excited to offer this post as part of the 5 Star Makeover hosted by two of my favorite bloggers, Lazaro from Lazaro Cooks, and Natasha from 5 Star Foodie. Their posts and recipes are a regular inspiration for me, so I was thrilled when I was invited to participate in this cross-blog collaboration. The theme this month was bacon and eggs.. Two ingredients that go together, well, like bacon and eggs! What’s not to love about these two ingredients? And how many amazing things can you create using them? I had such a hard time- I thought about a perfectly poached egg resting on a strip of crispy bacon and topped with tomato and homemade aioli- a favorite in the summer months. I thought about bacon and egg burritos smothered in roasted green chile sauce- a road-trip favorite. And I thought of all the greasy-spoon/diner food that we all secretly love featuring none other than bacon and eggs… But for this post, I wanted something elevated… Something magical and extraordinary, and I thought back to the very first souffle I’d created last spring, one with a bacon surprise on the bottom and thought I’d like to ‘kick it up a notch’.. And, since I just happened to have some bacon infused bourbon in the cabinet given to me by a friend, I thought why not add an over the top flambeed sauce?? Ooh la la! And so the bacon souffle was born…
A souffle is an egg-based dish that is light and fluffy and just melts in your mouth. Their mystique is legendary, and they are seemingly one of the toughest dishes to get right. In reality, while they do take a little time, they’re fairly easy to create, and the results are always spectacular. And the taste? Well, you can judge for yourself, but in my book it’s like eating a cloud. Better than cotton candy or marshmallows. The second layer of flavor in this dish was inspired by bacon and eggs erstwhile companion, maple syrup. Again- going back to the classic companion to greasy spoon/Saturday breakfast/diner food- the pancake with maple syrup. In addition to using the very fragrant maple sugar to coat the souffle dish instead of parmesan cheese, it was a key ingredient in the sauce.
This dish is best served in a brunch-like situation. It’s very rich- sweet, yet savory, and surprisingly filling for something so light. If you don’t have bacon bourbon on hand for the sauce, you could use regular bourbon, or forgo the alcohol entirely. While the bourbon adds a great kick to the sauce, I confess I grabbed it mostly because I wanted to set something on fire- it adds such an air of festiveness to a dish. Just be careful not to singe your eyebrows, and to flambe far from anything flammable- like clothes, dishcloths, the open bourbon bottle, paper towels- you get the idea. Enjoy, and be sure to check out all the recipes at the round up this Friday at Lazaro Cooks and 5 Star Foodie- you’re sure to be inspired by all the bacon & egg creations!
Bacon Souffle with Maple Bacon Bourbon Sauce
Makes 1 large souffle or 8 individual souffles
1 1/4 cup milk
2 small bay leaves
3 tbs butter
3 tbs sorghum (can use regular flour here if you don’t need to worry about serving gluten-free)
6 egg yolks
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1 lb of bacon, fried crispy and crumbled
butter for coating ramekin- about 1-2 tbs
1/2 cup maple sugar
6 egg whites
4 tbs butter
4 tbs maple sugar
4 tbs orange sugar
4 tbs crumbled bacon
1/2 cup bacon infused bourbon
Make the orange sugar by combining the zest of one orange with 1/4 cup of sugar. This can be done in a food processor, or by hand with the back of a fork. Cover and set aside. Fry the bacon over low heat until it is very crispy. When the bacon has cooled crumble and set aside. Take 1-2 tablespoons of room temperature butter and coat the inside of a large souffle dish or 8 individual ramekins. Place 1/2 cup maple sugar and 1/2 cup crumbled bacon into the bottom of the large souffle dish (divide this between the ramekins if making individual souffles). Cover with a plastic bag and shake vigorously, coating the sides and bottom with the sugar/bacon mixture. The bacon bits will settle to the bottom. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
In a small pan, infuse the milk with the shallot, bay leaves and cloves. You can place the spices in a tea infuser, or poke the cloves directly into the shallot. Heat, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes. You don’t want to forget about this, as a skin will form on the top of the milk, it’s important to keep stirring to prevent the skin from forming.
In a medium pan- large enough to hold the souffle base and the fully beaten eggwhites- melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter foams, whisk in the sorghum flour. Whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. You will smell the sorghum starting to cook. This process is important as it coats each flour molecule with fat, and that helps with thickening and structure. Do not allow the roux to burn. Pull the roux from the heat and remove the shallot and herbs from the milk. Slowly whisk in the milk to the roux and return to the heat, stirring constantly. In a minute or two, you will see the mixture begin to thicken. Keep stirring another minute, and do not allow it to boil. When the mixture looks like a thick cream, remove it from the heat. Congratulations- you’ve just made a beautiful gluten-free bechamel sauce!! This can be the base for many things- including the souffle!
Next, separate the eggs. Place the egg whites in a stainless steel bowl, and mix the yolks- one at a time- into the bechamel sauce. When all 6 yolks have been incorporated, add the shredded cheese. Whisk thoroughly and season with a dash of salt and pepper. Set the souffle base aside and grab your hand mixer- it’s time to beat some whites!
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites, and beat on high for 2-3 minutes- until the whites just begin to show stiff peaks. To get maximum height from your souffle, it’s very very important not to overbeat the whites. The only way I know how to do this is by stopping a tiny bit before you think they’re ready. Divide the mixture into fourths, and spoon 1/4 of the whites into the souffle base. Stir to fully incorporate. This lightens the souffle base so that when the rest of the whites are folded in, the mixture doesn’t collapse on itself- thus creating quiche and not souffle. Fold in the rest of the whites and pour into the souffle dish. Run your thumb around the edge of the souffle, making a little valley- this will help the souffle to rise properly. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is a beautiful golden brown.
Five minutes before the souffle is ready to be removed from the oven, make the sauce. Place butter, sugars, and bacon in a pan and allow to melt. Stir the ingredients as they’re melting. If the ingredients boil, everything will stick. As soon as the butter has melted and the sugar has liquefied, add the bourbon. If you flame it now, you will get a fantastically large flame that is very dramatic. If you’re worried about burning your house down, then allow a little of the alcohol to cook off, and then flame it. Remember- keep your face, and anything flammable away from the flame- be smart about this, and if you’re worried- don’t do it. You may cut into the souffle and add the sauce directly to the souffle, or you may scoop out a section and drizzle the sauce onto the plate. Whatever way you choose to serve it, the flavor and texture is sure to please!