Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Raspberry souffle

These raspberry souffles nearly gave me a fucking heart attack while I was making them. They are absolutely the most complicated thing I have ever made. Anything that involves an instruction to "be careful not to scramble the eggs" sends me white with fear because I can scramble eggs just by looking at them.

But in actual fact although it was nerve-wracking, nothing went wrong and the result was absolutely terrific.

So please, if you have half a mind to do something like this, do give it a go with confidence; a recipe has to be so, so foolproof for me to attempt it for the first time in a bit of a panic and not to get it horribly wrong.

Most of the stages can be done in advance and I recommend you do just that to give yourself a break in order to cut down on Wild Hostess Panic Face.

Raspberry souffles
Makes 4

4 SMALL ramekins. And you must use ramekins here, not any other kind of ceramic bowl or any other size ramekin otherwise the souffle will not cook properly and you will get an eggy sludge in the middle.

some softened butter

For the coulis:
300g raspberries
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the cornflour mixture:
90 ml double cream
100ml whole milk
4 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp plain flour

For the custardy extra:
2 egg yolks
6 tbsp caster sugar

You also need 4 egg whites, so before you start, separate 4 eggs: in one bowl keep the whites and put two egg yolks in two separate bowls.

And, of course, 4 tsp raspberry jam. I used seedless because there is nothing more irritating than a raspberry seed in one's molar.

Here we go:

1 For the raspberry coulis, whiz the coulis ingredients in a whizzer, then pass the resultant sludge through a sieve to get the pips out. Have a taste and if it is unbearably sour then add some more sugar, but this will be mixed with a reasonably sugary thing later, so don't go nuts.

I missed a huge trick here and used fresh raspberries imported from, I don't know, Burkina FASO or somewhere, when I should have used frozen British raspberries instead, which are available now in great quantities in your local supermarket freezer section.

2 Brush the insides of 4 ramekins with some soft butter and coat with caster sugar and then shake out the excess. Put 1 heaped tsp of raspberry jam in the bottom and put in the fridge to chill.

3 Mix the cream, flour and cornflour to a smooth paste.

4 Warm the milk over a medium heat, until just threatening to boil, then gradually splash into your cornflour paste. Whisk until smooth, then pour all this back into the milk pan. Keep this over a medium heat and keep whisking until it has thickened. This is terribly good for your triceps. Take the pan off the heat when it looks sort of thick.

5 Put the egg yolks in a separate small bowl and add the caster sugar. Mix to a paste and then add to the cornflour mixture in the pan. Now put this back on a medium flame, whisking until it begins to bubble slightly around the edges. I was so terrified of scrambling the wretched yolks that I waited until there was literally one tiny bubble and then snatched the pan off the heat in a cross-eyed panic.

6 The mixture ought to now look a bit like custard. Take it off the heat and leave somewhere to cool completely. At this point, you could stick this in the fridge and forget about it for up to two days and just finish the souffles off before you're ready to serve them. I did the whole thing in one night, hence mega stress.

7 Now pre-heat the oven to 180. Put the egg whites in a large bowl and beat until you get soft peaks. Add 1 large spoonful of egg whites and 6 tbsp of raspberry coulis to your cooled custardy mixture and mix well.

8 Fold in the remaining egg whites until the mixture is just all pink. Fill the ramekins to the brim and level off with a spatula. Put them on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 14 mins.

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