Somehow I’ve ended up with too many obligations; I think I’m organized but clearly a ball was dropped…or more accurately, I picked up more than one person can possibly juggle? Still, I have yet to miss participating in one of Abby Dodge’s Baketogether events and am breathing a sigh of relief this won’t be the month to ruin that streak…but it was close. Although if ever there was a month to do it I have to say…souffle? Uh oh. Light airy and baking at altitude are never typically synonymous with each other! Anyone remember the ‘angel food cake fail’ that was so spectacular I ended up making brownies instead?
Thankfully that did not happen but this effort was not without issues. I did not have an 8″ skillet but had one both larger and smaller. I went larger because I knew I would be putting both dried figs and caramelized onions on top and wanted some room for the goodies. That worked but the result, while puffy, was not very high. Yet the issue I had that required I re-do was not what I expected at all!
I re-hydrated my black figs in sherry and I added a touch of balsamic vinegar to the caramelized onions and nothing, I mean NOTHING I did could fix that the entire top looked like it had burned when it had not. I tried but even Photoshop could not help! It was so good I had no problem making it again even if Groundhog Day is not what I needed in my schedule. The figs are still dark, nothing can change that’s how they look but omitting the balsamic this time around certainly resulted in a much more appealing dish visually. If it’s true that we eat with our eyes first, that matters. I also know my tummy said thank you for the re-do.
This dish is an adaptation of both Abby’s original recipe and one of my favorite appetizers; goat cheese served with a topping of caramelized onions and figs. This time I went with that smaller skillet and it was the right choice. It rose more so looked nicer and the texture and taste of the goat cheese egg souffle was perfect. This version more clearly reflects the great taste…looking burned was not cool! The biggest struggle I had? Abby indicates 2-4 servings. My experience has been that one hungry person could polish this off easily. If my daughter had not shown up the first time I knew I
could would have eaten the whole thing for lunch; I put that theory to the test the second time around. Yummalicious!
I would be remiss if I did not mention the concern that I and everyone I know has for our fellow Americans living through another devastating hurricane in the Northeast. Heartbreaking stories combine with heartwarming ones as people step up and offer assistance. I remember last year when Irene wrecked such havoc and Abby was without power for a week and was trekking to the library to keep in touch with concerned friends on Twitter. It seems almost too much to have this same area hit so hard again just one year later. How I wish I could help those in need even if just serving someone a warm meal. Thousands of miles between us make that impossible but there are ways to help. Please check out this list posted by The Daily Beast. Some of the donations are as simple as sending a text. My thoughts and prayers truly are with you.
Baked Goat Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Mission Figs
For the Figs
- 6-8 dried figs, sliced (1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
For the Caramelized Onions:2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
For the Souffle
- 2 eggs, separated and at room temperature
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons of reserved sherry/fig liquid
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
- Pinch of table salt
To Hydrate the Figs:
- In a sauce pot, combine figs and sherry with enough water to barely cover figs. Place sauce pot over high heat and bring to boil, cover and remove from heat and let figs plump while onions are cooking.
To Make the Caramelized Onions:
- Pour olive oil into a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add onions and salt and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the brown sugar and cook until the sugar is melted and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
To Make the Souffle:
- Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Have ready a flat serving plate.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, goat cheese, sherry/fig liquid until well blended and smooth. Add the flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and salt and whisk until well blended.
- In a (very clean) medium bowl ( you can use a stand mixer, if you’d like. I did.), beat the egg whites with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until the whites are frothy, 30 – 45 seconds. Increase the speed to to medium high and beat until the whites are very foamy and barely soft peaks. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, increase the speed to high. Continue beating until the peaks are glossy and form soft, floppy peaks. Scrape the beaten whites into the yolk mixture and gently fold until just blended.
- Butter the inside of a small (7-8") skillet and arrange the figs in one layer. Cover with the caramelized onions and heat on low until the butter melts. Gently pour/scrape the souffle mixture into the skillet and smooth the top. Continue to cook on low heat until the edges begin to look dry, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Slide the skillet into the oven and bake until the top is puffed, golden brown and the center springs back when lightly pressed, 5 to 7 minutes. Working quickly and using potholders (the handle is super hot), move the skillet to a wire rack or cool stove-top. Gently place the serving plate on top of the souffle and invert. Carefully lift off the skillet. Using a small serrated knife, cut into wedges and serve immediately.
This is best made to be served and eaten right away...leftovers are, well, we didn't have any leftovers!
Want to join us and #Backtogether? Check out Abby’s blog; on the first of the month she’ll provide a recipe to use as our inspiration and then have fun with it. Often recipes can go sweet or savory depending on the ingredients you choose to include; that switching things up business is one thing Abby is known for and sure makes this exercise fun. Want more info? Go visit Abby’s site for all of the details and be sure to follow #baketogether on Twitter too!