I used a recipe for sweet corn pudding soufflés as a template for this preparation. This was a great way to use up a package of the frozen roasted Sonora Anaheim chile peppers from my garden. One thing that is really convenient about pudding souffles as opposed to regular poofy souffles is that most of the preparation can be done in advance. The pudding soufflés are baked twice, the first baking can be done hours in advance of serving them. For the final bake the puddings are removed from the ramekins that they were baked in, placed on a baking sheet or oven proof serving dish, then baked with some cream until they are warm and puffy. These make a great first course or a vegetarian main dish. We enjoyed them as a main dish accompanied by a green salad.
About 14 oz. roasted peeled seeded green Anaheim peppers, chopped
2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons Oaxacan Green cornmeal, or use 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Oregano Indio, or dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
2 1/2 ounces Mount Toro Tomme, finely grated, an aged dry Jack would be a good substitute
1/2 cup heavy cream or Crème fraiche
Blend half of the peppers with half of the milk in a blender or with a wand blender to make a smooth puree. Blend in the rest of the milk.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan, add the cornmeal and stir to mix, Allow to cook gently for a few minutes until the cornmeal becomes fragrant. Whisk in the pepper mixture until blended and smooth. Bring to a simmer. Allow the mixture to cook gently, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes, until thickened. Season with the oregano, cumin, and salt.
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter. Stir in the egg yolks one at a time. Stir in the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Stir in the remaining chopped peppers. Transfer to a large bowl and allow the soufflé base to cool a bit.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter 7 or 8 ramekins, be sure to get the rims, and place them in a baking dish.
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks and gently fold them into the soufflé base. Ladle the mixture into the ramekins, filling them to the rims. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the dish with the ramekins in the oven. The little soufflés should take about 30 minutes to cook, but check after 20 minutes in case there are hotspots in your oven. When done, the soufflés should be puffed up and brown on top. Immediately remove them from the oven, take them out of the water bath, and allow them to cool. The soufflés will fall. They can be made up to this point several hours in advance of serving.
Ten minutes before the soufflés are to be served, turn them out of the ramekins and place them, right side up, in individual gratin dishes that have been smeared with a spoonful of crème fraiche or use one large baking dish. Top each soufflé with another spoonful of crème fraiche. Put the baking dishes in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until the cream is bubbling slightly and the soufflés have swelled up. Remove the soufflés from the oven. If they've been baked on one large dish place each one on a warm serving plate and pour the cream from the baking dish over the soufflés. Shake some smoked paprika over all and serve immediately.
Note: The soufflés were looking close to finished at 20 minutes but were still quite jiggly. They continued to puff up over the next 10 minutes. At 30 minutes they were still somewhat jiggly but quite brown on top. Perhaps I'll cover them with a sheet of aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes the next time I try the recipe, either that or reduce the oven temperature to 375ºF. They seemed to be baked enough though and once cooled they came out of the ramekins fairly easily, I scooped out the little bit of souffle that stuck to the bottom and placed in the gratin dish and plopped the souffle on top. It came out great.
The corn soufflé recipe called for 6 ramekins of an unspecified size. I guess my ramekins were too small, I had to enlist a 7th one of a different shape and still had a spoonful of mixture left. My ramekins hold 7 ounces when filled to the rim, that other one holds a bit more and it has a rim with an outward curving lip which made for a different shaped top. I like the effect with the straight rim. Next time I'll probably make eight slightly smaller souffles with the straight sided ramekins.