WILD MUSHROOM SOUFFLE WITH TRUFFLE BUTTER
Ingredients for 6 servings:
1/4 ounce dried cepes or porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
6 ounces fresh mushrooms: shitake, cremini, oyster, cleaned, trimmed, sliced
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup whipping cream
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns, freshly ground
Souffle: Combine the dried mushrooms with cool water and soak until softened (Quick method: microwave on high for 1 minute then let stand for 5 minutes.) Generously butter a 6 - ½ cup molds with 1/2 tablespoon butter. Refrigerate the molds.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Set aside a baking pan large enough to accommodate the molds and deep enough to hold 1-1/2" water. Bring1 quart water to a simmer in a tea kettle.
When the dried mushroom pieces are soft strain off the steeping water and add enough whipping cream to measure 3/4 cup. Scald this liquid and set aside. Roughly chop the softened mushrooms
Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet and saute the mushroom slices until they are wilted and the pan is dry. Add the chopped mushrooms that were previously dry, and cook another 30 seconds to dry them. Reserve.
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes, until the roux is golden brown. Off the heat stir in the scalded cream and mushroom juices. Continue to whisk over low heat until the mixture thickens. Off the heat stir in the egg yolks, one at a time, then the mushroom pieces, the salt and pepper.
Beat the 3 whites to firm but still moist peaks, adding a pinch of salt to the whites when they begin to foam. Stir 1/3 of the whites into the mushroom base. Turn the mushroom mixture into the whites and fold until whites are just blended. Gently spoon the souffle into the molds. Set this in the baking pan and pour the boiling water around it to come 1/2 way up the side of the dish. Bake for 25 minutes.
Souffles: When the souffles have puffed in the mold, remove baking pan from the oven, and lift mold onto a rack. Serve immediately with a spoonful of truffle butter inserted in the top.
These soufflés can also be held at room temperature or refrigerated and later repuffed. Raise the oven heat to 400 degrees.. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes, until puffed and golden.