- Preheat the oven
to 400°F (200°C). Soufflés are baked at a high temperature
to ensure a good rise. Use a pastry brush to evenly coat the inside of
six 1-cup soufflé molds with softened butter. Fill each mold with
granulated sugar, then pour out any excess. If you have properly buttered
the molds, the sugar will stick to the sides and bottom. The butter and
sugar will keep the soufflés from sticking to the sides and will
allow them to rise evenly. The sugar will also give the soufflé
a crunchy crust, which I think makes a great contrast to its soft interior.
- Prepare the soufflé
base: Place the raspberries, sugar, and Sure-Jell in a 1-quart saucepan
and whisk over medium-high heat until the mixture boils and thickens.
Allow it to boil for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking continuously. Remove from
the heat and set aside.
- Prepare the Italian
meringue: Pour the water and sugar into a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan
and place over medium-high heat. When bubbles start to form around the
edge of the pan, insert a candy thermometer in the mixture. When the sugar
reaches 245°F (118°C), begin to whip the egg whites.
- Place the egg whites
in a large mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium-high
speed until foamy and slightly soft peaks.
- The sugar is ready
when it reaches 250°F (121°C), what is known as the soft ball
stage. Make an Italian meringue by pouring the cooked sugar down the side
of the bowl as you continue whipping the egg whites. Be very careful not
to pour the hot sugar onto the beaters, or it will splatter. Continue
whipping the meringue until the outside of the bowl is warm but not hot,
about 5 minutes. Do not overwhip, or it will not incorporate evenly into
the base and, when baked, the soufflés will have pieces of chewy
egg white in the center. You can tell the egg whites are overwhipped if
they start to separate and look like scrambled eggs.
- Fold the warm soufflé
base into the warm Italian meringue in two additions. Fold just until
combined (you may still see flecks of raspberry), being careful not to
deflate the mixture. It is important for both of these mixtures to be
warm so they will combine together smoothly. If one mixture is significantly
cooler than the other, it will form clumps when the two are folded together.
The warm meringue will also add stability to the unbaked soufflé
by slightly cooking the egg whites, keeping the soufflé from collapsing.
- Place the soufflé
mixture in a large pastry bag with a 2-inch opening (no tip). Pipe into
the buttered and sugared molds. The best way to do this is to hold the
pastry bag directly over each mold with the tip down. Place the tip inside
the mold about 1 inch from the bottom. Using even pressure, pipe the soufflé
mixture into the mold, lifting the pastry bag straight up as the mold
fills. When you have piped to about 1 inch above the rim of the mold,
stop squeezing and lift the tip straight up, leaving a small tail at the
top of the soufflé. The piped soufflé will look like a pink
chocolate kiss. If you do not have a pastry bag, you can use a rubber
spatula to gently spoon the soufflé mixture into the molds. (The
unbaked soufflés will hold at room temperature for one hour before
- It will be easier
to remove the soufflés from the oven if you place the molds on
a baking sheet. Set the baking sheet in the center of the oven; do not
place the baking sheet under a rack. If the soufflés are too close
to the top of the oven or under a rack, they will stick to the oven or
the rack when they rise. If the soufflés are too close to the bottom
of the oven, the bottoms will burn before the insides are properly cooked.
Bake until the soufflés double in height and start to brown on
top, about 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and dust
the tops of the soufflés with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
- If you prefer to
make one large 8-inch (1-1/2-quart) soufflé, you can gently spoon
the mixture directly into the buttered and sugared mold with a rubber
spatula; it is not necessary to pipe it with a pastry bag. The soufflé
mixture should come to about 1 inch above the rim of the dish. Bake at
375°F (190°C) for about 20 minutes.
- The soufflé
base can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up
to two weeks. It should be brought to a boil before it is combined with
the Italian meringue.