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A Queso De Bola Bibingka Soufflé For The Holidays

posted by in Recipes

A holiday recipe inspired by Chef Ed Bugia and my favorite queso de bola.

During the holidays, queso de bola (QdB) is one of those foods I can’t stop thinking about – or eat enough of. I’m constantly looking for new ways to incorporate it with other foods and use it as an ingredient in my holiday baking.

Not too long ago, I’m talking to Chef Ed Bugia (of Pino fame), rhapsodizing about my favorite QdB foods. I’m expounding on how so very cool QdB is with bibingka, one of those no-brainer, gotta-have-it-this-Christmas foods, when he suddenly interjects, “I make a good queso de bola bibingka soufflé.”

A lengthy silence ensues as I absorb what he’s just said, my brain processes the myriad possibilities of pleasure brought on by a dessert like that. Obviously, no time is wasted in setting a “bake a bibingka soufflé day.”

Soufflé ingredients – aka mise en place.

A soufflé is a source of terror for some cooks, it being the subject of numerous stories involving dramatic risings and suspenseful sprints to serve it before the darn thing collapses. Really just beaten egg whites folded with a denser, flavored mixture, a properly done soufflé rises high above its rim. Its airy exterior is crusty and golden brown, the stark opposite of its lush, loose center bursting with flavor. But it can be temperamental and pose its own difficulties. The first time I made a soufflé, the only comment I received was, “Nice bread, Lor.” Good grief.

We’re in Ed’s kitchen. He’s explaining his inspiration for this soufflé as he gets ready to grate the cheese. “I first tasted a queso de bola bibingka soufflé at C2 and I liked it so much I made my own.”  In our cooking and baking, Marca Piña Queso de Bola is our preferred cheese ball. He likes it because it’s consistent in quality and I like it because of its distinct flavor, mild and nutty and not too salty. Of course there’s the nostalgia factor, too. At my lolo’s Noche Buena table, slices of Marca Piña Queso de Bola took centerstage with big-as-plates ensaymada and slices of ham. Now that I’m an adult, it’s the only cheese that graces my Christmas table and I hoard balls of it during the holidays so that I can bake with it throughout the year.

Grating the Marca Piña Queso de Bola. Using the medium grind on the grater produces cheese that’s fluffy and highly aromatic.

Whisking the soufflé batter.
This shot just freaks me out: how can you not use a measuring spoon when adding extract? Don’t omit the pandan extract however. It adds an incomparable element to the soufflé.
Ed throwing sugar into the soufflé batter. At this point, I want to throw a measuring spoon at him.
Up and under, up and under. Folding the egg white base into the soufflé batter.

As Ed goes about making the soufflé, I’m alarmed at his rather cavalier attitude to measuring—the man doesn’t measure! I’ve always been attracted to baking because of its precision but at the Pino Kitchen Studio, everything they do seems to fly in the face of that fact. I see not a single set of measuring cups or spoons, although there’s a battered kitchen scale on the counter. Ed’s actually chuckling and poking fun at himself as he sprinkles sugar into the egg whites, showers queso de bola into the soufflé batter, and thins out the crème anglaise with nary a measurement tool. My fastidious side is screaming but I’m too busy taking pictures and scribbling down notes so I go with the flow and worry about hammering out a workable recipe later.

Running your thumb around the ramekins keeps the filling from sticking to the rims.
Ready for the oven.
Mise en place for the Coconut Crème Anglaise.

Ed, waiting for the soufflés to finish baking. “See Lori, no measurements!” (Yeah Ed, leave the hard work to me.)
The soufflés have deflated considerably by the time Ed garnishes their tops with grated coconut and the Coconut Crème Anglaise. I love this shot for the easygoing, almost tongue-in-cheek nature it depicts. Ed always has fun with food, and it characterizes all of his creations.

Regardless of non-existent measurements, Ed gets an impressive rise from his soufflés. (See cover photo). “I always like to underbake my soufflés just a bit so that the center stays loose and foamy,” he says, setting them down on the counter. He finishes them off with a smattering of grated coconut, the brown and white shards look like a miniature shower of stars as I peer at them from behind my camera. My mouth beings to water …  and water some more as he inserts a spoon into one soufflé and dribbles some Coconut Crème Anglaise into it.

Pictures done, oven turned off, Ed and I sit down with our respective soufflés. “They’ve shrunk!” Ed declares. I take a bite. “But they’re still so good!” I aver. A still crisp exterior shows its softer side, a rich and loose middle pocked with pieces of queso de bola – a subtle, salty strike against the sweetness of the soufflé. Another spoonful serves up a chunky surprise of salted red egg, and that’s when it really tastes like a bibingka. I like the Coconut Crème Anglaise which rounds everything off quite nicely with its sweet creaminess.

Queso de bola and a soufflé that tastes like a bibingka: a deliciously traditional start to the Christmas holidays.

Queso De Bola Bibingka Soufflé

This is the recipe I came up with inspired by Chef Ed Bugia and Marca Piña, undoubtedly my favorite queso de bola.

Makes 3 individual soufflés (recipe can be easily doubled)

For preparing ramekins
1½ tablespoons butter, at room temperature, for ramekins
¼ cup caster (superfine) or granulated white sugar, for ramekins
1 salted red egg, coarsely chopped

Soufflé batter
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon rice flour
¼ cup grated Marca Piña Queso de Bola
1 salted red egg, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon pandan extract

Egg white base
3 egg whites at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

Coconut Creme Anglaise (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare the ramekins: Butter the interior of three straight-sided, ramekins (3-4 inches in diameter). Dust with granulated white sugar to coat the bottom and sides. Distribute salted red eggs evenly among ramekins. Set ramekins aside.

Make the soufflé batter: In a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the 3 egg yolks. Whisk just until sugar begins to melt and yolks thicken slightly. Add the rice flour, Marca Piña Queso de Bola, salted red egg, and pandan extract. Whisk until ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.

Make the egg white base: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks, whites should be stiff and shiny. The whites will form stiff peaks when the beater is lifted. Do not overbeat.

Finish the soufflé mixture: Fold the egg white base into the soufflé batter until the egg whites and batter are just blended. Be careful not to deflate the egg whites.

Using a rubber spatula or a ladle or an ice cream scooper, fill the ramekins with the batter. Smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Run your thumb around the edges of each ramekin, as if you’re loosening the soufflé’s edges – this will keep the filling from sticking to the rims.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until soufflés are golden brown and exterior has set. Serve immediately with crème anglaise and grated Marca Piña Queso de Bola.

Coconut Crème anglaise
Note: Recipe will yield more than needed. Use extra for more soufflés or eat delightedly as a luxurious custard.

Crème anglaise (can be made ahead, recipe follows)
½ cup whole milk (you might not use it all)
1/3 cup grated coconut (niyog)
2 tablespoons muscovado sugar, or to taste

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients until smooth and of a thick, pouring consistency. Add more grated coconut to thicken sauce, and more muscovado to sweeten sauce. Serve with the soufflés.

Crème Anglaise

1 cup whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
2 ½ tablespoons caster (superfine) or granulated white sugar
1/8 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

Over low heat, scald milk in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes or until the milk just comes to the boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

Using a large whisk or the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale. Gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture.
Transfer egg yolk and milk mixture into a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that bowl doesn’t touch the water, as this will cook the custard too quickly. Cook, stirring constantly, until custard coats the back of the spoon, about 10-12 minutes.

Stir in the cream. Strain crème anglaise through a fine sieve into a bowl. Let cool before refrigerating.

Note: This recipe can be made a day ahead. Refrigerate, with surface covered snugly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Before using in soufflé base, reheat to room temperature in a microwave or by placing in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

11 Responses to “A Queso De Bola Bibingka Soufflé For The Holidays”

  • The image of you flinging measuring spoons and cups at poor Ed : LMAO moment. Lori, you are one spirited, fiery and hilarious woman.


    Lori Reply:

    That I am, Aina L. :p



  • im too lazy to make my own souffle, where can i buy those? :-) thanks!


    Lori Reply:

    K is right, you can try the ones at C2 but these are better.


  • C2 makes bibingka souffle, but I don’t think it’s got Qdb (which just might improve it).


  • “Regardless of non-existent measurements, Ed gets an impressive rise from his soufflés” — That’s what she said :))


  • i cant imagine not using measuring cups! thank you so much lori for getting all the measurements :D love your recipes!

    btw, used your brown butter macadamia nut pie as christmas presents :D i made them into little tarts :)


  • i hope chef Edward puts this in his Pino menu :)


  • Great recipe you have there, will visit for more ingredients. Seems pretty healthy too. My boys (which includes husband) goes for only flavor, but this looks like a blend of the two.


  • Queso de bola + bibingka?! That’s my kind of gastronomic heaven! @_@


  • i love c2′s bibingka souffle i always crave for it..ive been lookin for its recipes for quite sometime now cant wait to try your recipe ;-)


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