Celebrate Bastille Day with an Apricot Pistachio Soufflé

July 13, 2012 No comments »
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A funny thing happened when I cancelled my cable: I fell in love with Jacques Pepin.

With suddenly only a handful of channels to choose from, I re-discovered public tv, something I hadn’t watched in nearly 30 years when I’d tune in for Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

One evening while I had the house to myself I happened to catch a marathon of “Essential Pepin,” a cooking show starring French chef, Jacques Pepin.  Before long, I found myself smitten by his irresistible French accent, slight lisp and that great big smile.  But more so, his recipes looked delicious, fun and simple.  During one particular episode Jacques made orange soufflé crepes, then a gorgeous Baked Alaska, but then he made something that made me melt: an Apricot Pistachio Soufflé.   I knew I had to make it.

The soufflé is a puffy French dish made with eggs that can be either sweet or savory.  If you’ve never made one before, trust me, it’s not that scary.  You can read about my first attempt making one here.

With tomorrow being Bastille Day (a French holiday celebrated yearly to commemorate the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789), I thought making and sharing this recipe would be une bonne idée and I’m so glad I did.  All in all, it really was quite easy.  Easier, in fact, than any cheese soufflé I’ve ever made.  This dessert is light and airy, so it would be perfect after any meal.  To start, you simmer some dried apricots in water.  After about 25 minutes, drain the apricots and puree them with some light corn syrup.  Then, beat 5 egg whites until they hold peaks.  Combine the two mixtures along with some crushed pistachios, pour into a buttered and sugared soufflé dish and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  What results is a tall, elegant, beautifully browned confection that literally melts in your mouth.  It is served with some lightly sweetened whipped cream (don’t eliminate this!).

In each and every bite I tasted the tart apricots and crunchy pistachios.  The browned top was the best as it added an almost-crispy element to the soufflé.  I’d love to recommend serving this with Ponte Viognier – to stay with the French theme – but I fear the dessert is a little too sweet for that.  Go with the sparkling Moscato or Mistela instead for a real treat.

Au revoir for now, and bon appetit!

Get Jacques Pepin’s recipe for Apricot Pistachio Soufflé here.

–What is your favorite French food?


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