By Amy Maltzan
Makes 6 individual soufflés.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, preferably dark amber
4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for dusting ramekins
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Generously coat the insides and top rims of six 3/4 cup ramekins with 2 tablespoons of the butter, brushing upwards in vertical strokes (this will help the soufflés rise.) Sprinkle sugar into each of the ramekins, rotating them around to coat the sides, and tap out the excess. Set the ramekins on a small baking sheet and place the them in the refrigerator while you make the soufflé batter.
In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until it melts. Whisk in the flour to form a roux, and continue whisking the roux over medium heat for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, whisking all the while until the mixture is smooth.
Continue cooking the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens considerably (it should be similar to a paste.) Take the pan off the heat and stir it to cool down slightly; it should be warm but not steaming. Whisk in a pinch of salt and the maple syrup until it is thoroughly incorporated. One by one, add the egg yolks, whisking to combine after adding each one. Transfer this egg yolk mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
Whip the egg whites with a whisk (or a whisk attachment on an electric mixer) until they are very foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and continue beating until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk base to lighten it. Continue gently folding in the remainder of the egg whites, in 2 more additions.
Divide the soufflé batter among the ramekins, smooth the tops with a spatula, and wipe off any batter stuck to the top rims. Bake for 25 minutes, until soufflés are risen and golden brown on top. Serve immediately.
Amy Maltzan is the Seasonal Cooking columnist for Edible Finger Lakes and blogs at www.eggsonsunday.wordpress.com.