To Make the Sauce:
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, stirring after each addition, until it melts. Continue to cook until the sugar syrup turns a light golden brown.
2. Add the pear and continue to cook, while stirring, until the pears are tender and nicely caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in the passion fruit purée and heat for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and keep warm while preparing the soufflés.
3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter the inside and rims of four 6-ounce soufflé dishes. Dust the insides and rims with sugar, making certain that they are thoroughly coated. Tap out the excess sugar and put the dishes on a baking sheet.
4. Whisk together the egg yolks and passion fruit purée in a large bowl until well blended; set aside.
5. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-low speed just until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the sugar, beating until the whites form glossy medium-stiff peaks. Using a large rubber spatula and a light touch, fold the meringue into the yolk mixture in three additions until well incorporated but not overmixed.
6. Fit a pastry bag with a large plain round tip and fill with the soufflé mixture. Pipe (or if you prefer spoon) the mixture into the dishes up to their rims. Run your thumb along the outside edge of the dishes to remove any excess butter and sugar. Bake the soufflés for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. If you touch the tops of the soufflés, they should be firm with centers that are still a bit jiggly.
7. Meanwhile, transfer the sauce to a warm sauceboat; keep warm.
8. When the soufflés are done, carefully pull the baking sheet from the oven. Dust the tops of the soufflés with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately with the pear-passion sauce.
A 1998 Monbazillac from Château Tirecul La Gravière, a luscious late-harvest blend of Sauvignon Blanc and sweet Sémillon grapes will coax out the passion-fruit perfectly.
Reprinted from: Daniel's Dish: Entertaining at Home with a Four Star Chef, Daniel Boulud, Filipacchi Publishing, 2003
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