Maple is a flavor that is frequently used to enhance other foods, whether you’re drizzling maple syrup over waffles or a savory side of sweet potatoes. It isn’t often showcased entirely on its own. I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising, given that maple syrup is so sweet, but it also has a very complex and rich flavor to it – especially if you buy the darker “grade B” maple syrup that I tend to favor – and you just need to find a good backdrop to bring it out.
In this case, I made a very simple souffle and spiked it with maple syrup. The souffle is very simple, with just four main ingredients. I used a little bit of yogurt as the base because I had such great souffle results with it in my Yogurt Cheesecake Souffles. Yogurt brings a bit of richness to the texture of souffle and, in this case, the tartness of plain yogurt was just enough to take the edge off of the maple syrup and prevent the souffles from being too sweet. Instead, the ultra-soft souffles have a flavor that borders on caramel and reminds me a lot of flan. They’re still sweet, but not cloying, and are the perfect accompaniment to some after dinner coffee or tea.
The souffles are quite low in fat (not low in sugar, however) and, even though souffles have a reputation for being tricky, they’re very easy to make. All you need to do is beat the egg whites to soft peaks with some sugar, then fold in the maple syrup and yogurt. It takes about 3 minutes, then you just have top pop them into the oven. Don’t worry about deflating them in any way when you open the door to check on them; the souffles are resilient, even though they’re light. Speaking of lightness, the souffles may actually rise up over the top of the ramekins because they are so fluffy. They’ll sink back down into the cups as they cool slightly and, although you can certainly wait a few minutes to eat them, they are best when they are served shortly after baking, still hot from the oven.
This recipe is small and fills up two 8-oz ramekins perfectly, with just a little bit leftover. You can certainly divide the recipe into three ramekins and fill them up a bit less (or use 6-oz ramekins; baking time is about the same) if you want to stretch it, but I think it’s nice to have a recipe that really works for a small serving. The recipe doubles easily if you need to serve a group and want to make a bigger batch.
2 large egg whites, room temperature
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp yogurt (pref Greek-style)
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
butter and sugar, for ramekins
Preheat oven to 400F. Coat two 8-oz ramekins with a thin layer of butter, then dust with sugar and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, maple syrup and salt.
In another medium bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add in sugar, beating until egg whites reach soft peaks.
Gently stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the yogurt mixture to lighten it up, then fold in remaining egg whites with a spatula. Mixture should look uniform in color and texture, with no large streaks of egg white.
Fill prepared ramekins with souffle mixture to the top. Smooth excess off with a knife, creating a level top. Place souffles on a baking sheet.
Bake at 400F for 13-15 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown on top.
Serve immediately, or at least shortly after baking, with a cup of coffee or tea.