Cloud Soufflé from Gables Wine Country Inn
In the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, Gables Wine Country Inn is a luxury inn offering a relaxed country experience. That might seem like something of a contradiction at first, but the Gables have made thousands of guests into believers over its nearly 40 years in business. The 140-year-old two-story mansion was built in the High Victorian Gothic Revival style. Today it still boasts three Italian marble fireplaces, an opulent mahogany spiral staircase, 12-foot ceilings, and antique clawfoot tubs. But thanks to its bucolic location and its three-and-a-half-acre property, a stay at the Gables feels as peaceful and welcoming as it does opulent. The inn even looks out onto its own vineyard and extensive gardens. Much of the produce the inn grows (including nine different tomatoes on about 30 vines this year) goes to help nearby Farm to Pantry, a non-profit committed to rescuing food that would otherwise go wasted.
Every morning, the Gables’ innkeepers serve a three-course breakfast that continues the “luxury in the country” theme. Signature dishes like buttermilk biscuits and pimento cheese grits are served alongside homemade jams and colorful fruit presentations, with results that are unpretentious yet elegantly presented. In fact, breakfasts at the inn have been so well received that the innkeepers have compiled their guests’ favorite recipes into their own cookbook.
One of the recipes included in the cookbook is an egg dish that always makes guests “ooh” and “ahh.” Gables Wine Country Inn’s Cloud Soufflé is similar to a traditional egg soufflé, except the eggs remain separated. The yolks are baked into a nest of whipped egg whites, and after just 12 minutes in the oven the dish comes out looking like a big, puffy cloud. Waiting inside are creamy yolks accompanied by the savory flavors of cheese, tomato, and shallot—perfect for dipping with a slice of crusty bread. Subtle enough for picky eaters, but with enough interest for more adventurous palates, this recipe is the perfect showcase for the farm-to-table ingredients typical of Sonoma wine country. It’s got everything that makes for a perfect weekend brunch: surprising simplicity, an impressive presentation, and an abundance of flavor.
Courtesy of Gables Wine Country Inn
Makes 4 servings
- Butter and flour, or baking spray, for lining the ramekins
- 8 eggs, separated while cold then brought to room temperature
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 12 tablespoons (about 3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 8 to 12 cherry tomatoes, diced
- 1 shallot, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightly butter and flour a 4-inch, 12-ounce ramekin.
Sauté the shallot and tomato in a little olive oil until the shallot is translucent, about 3 minutes.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with a pinch of salt until they become stiff.
Spoon 3/4 of the egg whites into the ramekin, reserving some for the top. With the back of a soup spoon, make a well in the middle of the egg whites, pushing the egg whites up the sides of the ramekin.
Add the shallot-tomato mixture, then carefully slide the egg yolks into the hole.
Add a crush of freshly ground pepper, then top with the cheese.
Pour in the butter and cream.
Smooth the remaining egg whites back over the top to form a dome.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The tops should be lightly golden, and when the crust is broken, the yolks and cream should be soft and hot.
Serve with crusty bread to dip into the yolks and cream.