Soufflé in Pasta Sfoglia "alla Siciliana"
Sicilian Puff-Pastry Breakfast Soufflé
Wake up you sleepyheads! It's time for breakfast! Cursed with the fate of being an incurable early-riser, I decided to take advantage of the fact today, set up my lights and camera and make a breakfast worth shooting for you... and I hope you like it! I know that I did!
This is in fact, simply a slightly different version of my "Sicilian Coddled Eggs" recipe, which I posted many, many moons ago, shortly after I started this blog. You can see it here: http://the-saucy-chef.blogspot.com/2011/04/ill-make-you-breakfast-you-cant-refuse.html But this morning, I decided to give it a cool twist and bake it in the oven, in a framework of wonderfully fluffy puff-pastry... and what a treat it turned out to be!
So- the main difference here, is that as you can see, I have lined the edges of my dish with puff pastry. I cut 2" strips of store-bought pastry and folded them, concertina-style, then placed them around the edge of the dish. The only tip here, is to use a very sharp knife to cut the pastry with- it IS important! If you use a blunt knife, of course it will "cut" the pastry, but it will actually just squeeze the edges shut, rather than cut through them smoothly- which will result in the air not being able to escape from the many layers of folded pastry during baking and the pastry will not rise properly.
For the soufflé, I separated 2 eggs and beat the whites up until the were nice and fluffy. I then mixed all of the other ingredients into the yolk, before stirring the egg whites and yolks back together. Into 2 egg yolks I added a good splash of milk, some finely chopped parsley and plenty of finely chopped mint. I then added grated salted ricotta cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper, whisked them up at the highest setting, and when they were done, stirred the egg whites back in, so that I had a nice fluffy soufflé mass ready to pour into my oven dish.
I did not line the base of the dish with pastry, as I wanted the heat to be transferred directly from the dish to the eggs. I also did not want the pastry to become moist from the egg and not cook thoroughly- nothing worse than soggy pastry! Turn the heat up to the highest setting in the oven to preheat and prepare to put your soufflé together!
Pour the egg mix into the dish and then sprinkle with finely chopped bacon, sun-dried tomatoes cut into thin strips and a little mozzarella, also cut into strips, so it can be more evenly distributed all over the surface of the soufflé without making everything sink down to the bottom. Pour a little water into your oven tray first, so that it begins to steam- this will help the soufflé rise. Of course, you will need to do all of this preparation as quickly as possible as the air-bubbles from beating the eggs will also diminish otherwise. In goes your dish at a high temperature, on the middle rack of the oven, in your tray in which you have 1" or so of steaming water, for around 15 minutes- it does really depend on your oven though. Keep your eyes on it- but don't be tempted to open the door on it! One the pastry is nice and puffy, give it a final blast under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to give it a nice golden finish... and get ready to enjoy an amazing breakfast! Buon apetito!