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Raspberry Souffle

I am sure some of you readers have memories of eating in France before  the plague of MacDonalds, Burger King, Kentucky-Fried Chicken and other fast food outlets changed their way of life. One of the most  pleasant and romantic dinners I had was in the old Brasserie at the Gare du Nord, Paris’s busiest railway station.

My girlfriend  was returning to Milan at ten-thirty that evening and I was to remain  in Paris. Having wined  and dined rather well over the past few days, we were planning only a light supper before her train departed.  After spoiling ourselves in excellent restaurants we were both feeling a little gourmet jaded but, on not finding the type of bistro we were looking for, we somewhat half heartedly decided for a last plunge in the famous Brasserie.

It is an evening I  recall with affection and still, over the years, with not just a little sadness. From the moment our aperitifs arrived and a pianist commenced playing softly in the background, the atmosphere  became pure Orient Express. The old world waiters, the wonderful food, the wine, the salon itself, plus the fact that we would shortly be parting forever, transported us into the world of Agatha Christie. When the moment came for my girlfriend to leave to board the train, she insisted that I remained seated. She wanted  to leave with a final image of me, alone at the table holding her tear stained napkin in one hand and a glass of cognac in the other.

I cannot recall what we started with or the entree course but – Oh boy! The dessert and that cheese trolley were to die for!!

Raspberry Souffle

• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter plus more for greasing
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar plus more for dusting mold
• 1 pint pureed raspberries
• 4 eggs, separated
• Pinch cream of tartar
• Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 4 (8-ounce) ramekins or a 1 1/2-quart souffle dish by greasing with softened butter and coating with granulated sugar, pour out any excess. The butter and sugar will keep the souffles from sticking to the sides and will allow them to rise evenly. The sugar will also give the souffle a crunchy crust, which is a great contrast to the soft interior.
To make the fruit puree base, heat the raspberry puree, 3/4 cup sugar and butter in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat, cool slightly, then strain to remove the raspberry seeds. Whisk in the egg yolks 1 at a time.
In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar just until they hold soft peaks. Fold 1/3 of the beaten whites into the raspberry mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the rest. Spoon into the prepared ramekins or souffle dish and place on a cookie sheet. Bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes. The souffle is done when it has puffed over the rim, the outside is golden and the center giggles slightly. Take care not to over bake. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. - Fly at a Smile-Price