Sweet of the Week: Ricotta Soufflé at J. Rocco Italian Table and Bar
Soufflé is a dish shrouded in antiquated elegance, much like chivalry. It's a classy confection that doesn't get enough respect nowadays. When people think of soufflé, they envision the cliched chocolate soufflés emerging gingerly from the oven, dolloped with creme anglaise and eaten with pinkies uplifted. Truth be told, soufflés can be a whole lot more than that. The technique of combining beaten egg whites with cake batter can be adapted to any number of ingredients and preparations. Case in point, the buffalo ricotta soufflé at J. Rocco Italian Table and Bar.
This is a dessert with an identity crisis, and a delicious identity crisis at that. It takes the idea of ricotta cheesecake, lightens it up as a soufflé and brûlées the top à la crème brûlée. Chances are if you like dessert, this one has you covered. The cheesecake base is as light as mousse, topped with shaved almonds, smoky caramel sauce, and a rich Italian honey. The brûléed top adds a welcome crunch to the otherwise satiny smooth dessert. It's not as rich as most soufflés I've had, with the tangy ricotta only gently sweetened, and it looks almost nothing like a soufflé either. It's a refreshing departure from the wobbly stereotype, proving the versatility of these classic desserts.
(Buffalo ricotta soufflé. Photo: Matt Kirouac)