CHESTNUT SOUFFLÉ

CHESTNUT SOUFFLÉ

I had the idea to re-propose the chestnut soufflè from the reading of an old recipe of Pellegrino Artusi. I was looking for an intriguing way to deal with chestnuts, and this usage of fresh chestnuts was very appealing to me. In contemporary recipes, even of soufflès, the ingredient of choice is chestnut marmalade. I agree that this kind of preparation is more challenging, but these marmalades are extremely sweet and tend to make the dishes filling after a few mouthfuls.
I decided to go back to the origins, to a vintage recipe, but much lighter than the original one. The Maestro uses five eggs, and of course, the indications are extremely curt, cooking times and temperatures were taken for granted: calibrating the flames of Aga cookers and wood ovens were tasks of skilled cooks who just needed suggestions and tips in order to test new dishes; nothing to do with contemporary recipes, easy also for less experienced cooks.

Chestnut soufflè soufflè di castagne
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cooking Time 40 minutes
Total Time 60 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 5 oz. (150 g.) chestnuts
  • 3 tablespoons (25 g.) icing sugar
  • ¼ tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 medium egg yolks
  • A dash of marine salt
  • ¾ cup medium egg whites (about 3 + ½ eggs - 140 g.), room temperature
  • White sugar for ramekins
  • Unsalted butter (for ramekins)

Instructions

Boil the chestnuts in a pot with water for 10 minutes. Peel them, and cook them in milk for 30 minutes.
Put the chestnuts and milk in a bowl and, with an immersion blender, blend them. Add the vanilla and yolks, and mix.
Heat the oven, 400 F (200 C).
Butter ramekins, making upward strokes up the sides with a pastry brush. Sprinkle with sugar, tilting to coat completely and tapping out any excess. Arrange prepared ramekins on baking sheet.
Beat egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add icing sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, and beat until medium peaks form, 6–7 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of the beaten egg whites into chestnut mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg whites in 2 batches. Divide batter among prepared ramekins, filling completely.
Transfer baking sheet with ramekins to oven and bake soufflés until puffed and tops feel firm to the touch, 25–28 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Special Equipment
4 (6-ounce) ramekins

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About the Author

Growing up in Emilia Romagna, a region known for Parmesan, Parma ham, lasagna, and filled pasta, a great deal of my childhood was spent in the kitchen with my grandmother and mother.

Even at a very young age, I could see that for them cooking was a passionate expression of their love for their family. While I’m filled with many warm memories of watching them cook, what I remember most is circling the table and watching the stove, waiting for any opportunity I could to steal a taste.