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Just Desserts

From simple to decadent, these desserts will be sure to impress all through the holidays

Eugenia Uhl Photograph

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Individual Creole Cream Cheese Soufflés with Orange-Chocolate Sauce

This dessert is a show-stopper, but it’s not all that complicated. If you can beat egg whites and if you take a little care in preparing the ramekins before filling them, the soufflés will turn out perfectly every time.

For the Orange-Chocolate Sauce
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup of triple sec, Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur.
3/4 stick of unsalted butter (3 ounces)

1. Heat the chocolate and the liqueur in a double boiler, and stir occasionally until mixed. Add the butter in pieces, stirring, until it is all incorporated and the sauce has a sheen. Hold the sauce while the  soufflés bake.

For the Soufflés
12 ounces Creole cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Scant pinch salt
3 egg whites beaten to stiff peaks
Butter and sugar to line ramekins

1. Preheat your oven to 450.

2. Drain the Creole cream cheese in a fine-mesh sieve for at least an hour. Push the cheese through the sieve into a large bowl, and then mix in the sugar, flour, egg yolks, orange zest and salt until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Butter the ramekins, and then add sugar, and roll the ramekin around to coat the insides and rim. Carefully pour the batter into the ramekins about halfway up the side, making sure that you don’t get the batter on the rims. Doing so will make the soufflés rise unevenly. (If you do get batter on the rim despite your best efforts, you can just wipe it off.)

3. Put the ramekins into the preheated oven, and then drop the heat to 375, and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the soufflés are puffed and golden. To serve, place one ramekin onto a serving dish that will hold it securely. Puncture the top of the soufflé with a small spoon of the chocolate sauce. A little goes a long way here, and you want to taste the cheese and the orange zest in the soufflé as well as the chocolate. Serves 8.

Hot Coffee with Rum and Brown Sugar

This drink, made with strong coffee, uses dark rum and brown sugar as a perfect after-dinner drink. It would pair well with the soufflés in particular. If you can find raw brown sugar, you’ll get a bit more of the classic molasses flavor that combines well with the rum, but if not, regular dark brown sugar will do. The final addition of whipped cream and a little freshly grated nutmeg mellows out the coffee.

For each serving
4-5 ounces of strong, dark coffee
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, preferably raw such as turbinado or Demerara
1-2 ounces dark rum
Heavy cream, whipped
Freshly grated nutmeg

1. Stir the sugar into the hot coffee, then add the rum, and stir to combine. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, and dust with a little nutmeg. If you like, you can garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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