Try this exquisite, elegant take on the soufflé, fragrant with aromas of hazelnut. A little fruity poached pear in the center of each soufflé makes for a delightful and welcome surprise. — Will Budiaman
*Note: We use Valrhona hazelnut paste, but you are welcome to use alternate products such as the canned hazelnut paste available from Whole Foods.
Bring the water, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to a boil in a 2-quart pot over high heat. Add the pears and lemon juice and reduce heat to a simmer. Poach until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and once cooled, core and cut into ¼-inch cubes. Set aside 6 tablespoons cubed poached pear for the soufflé.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line six 6-ounce soufflé ramekins with butter and sugar. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, warm the milk with the corn syrup over medium heat. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cornstarch and ¼ cup of the sugar with the yolks and whisk vigorously.
Temper the warm milk into the yolks and starch. Return the ingredients to the saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously, until thick. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and stir in the butter and then the hazelnut paste. Let cool slightly.
In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Slowly add the remaining sugar and egg white powder and increase speed to high. Whip until shiny and stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
Using a whisk, lighten the hazelnut mixture with about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites. Stir until well combined. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites until just incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins; the mixture should come up to the top of the ramekin.
As you fill the ramekins, place 1 tablespoon poached pear in the center of each and cover with the remaining soufflé mixture. Place them on the baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until risen, about 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.