Have you thought about making a soufflé but never dared? Never fear. You’re likely to succeed first time and I thoroughly recommend the experience. Or maybe you’re a soufflé veteran? Either way, you’re welcome to join our informal mini soufflé challenge! You can follow your own recipe or choose between my basil and nutmeg cheese soufflés and cherry and almond soufflés warmed by cinammon, clove and a slug of Kirsch cherry liqueur! A gluten-free treat with dairy-free or sugar-free options! It’s a lovely delicate dessert and delving in with your spoon through the cloudlike almond fluffiness you’ll reach the warm but slightly sharp cherry compote at the bottom. Yummy delightfulness!
This recipe is an adaptation of the Great British Bake Off winner Edd Kimber’s pistachio and cherry soufflés from his book Patisserie made simple. Stiffly beaten egg whites are folded into crème pâtissière to create a fluffy mixture over a simple compote. I’ve changed the quantities and there’s an extra egg white then instead of pistachios my soufflés incorporate ground almonds, salt and optional bitter almond extract. Adding honey (instead of sugar), cinammon, cloves and kirsch to the cherries, really ups the flavour oomph. Delicious. But as Edd Kimber suggests, you could experiment with your own flavourings and compote.
With xylitol the soufflés take longer to bake, staying softer in the middle and rising less. The almond milk also produces a softer structure that collapses more quickly when out. But both options do rise and make delicious soufflés.
Timings (45 mins work and waiting from 1 hour to a day between stages)
- Stage 1 (one day or 1.5 hours before baking): cherry compote 10 mins, crème pâtissière 15-20 mins.
- Stage 2: 15 mins then 18- 24 mins baking.
Important: have everyone ready with spoon in hand to eat your soufflés as soon as they’re out of the oven! And be fast taking photos! 🙂
RECIPE – Makes 4 small pots – 8.5-9cm/3.5inch diametre x 5cm/2inch high
The secret to a good soufflé is folding the egg whites in carefully and here’s a brilliant youtube demonstration by the baking wizard: How to fold egg whites into soufflé batters. Also be precise with your measurements, and butter and sugar your moulds well, leaving no fingerprints.
- 185-190g/6.5-6-7oz (20-24 cherries – 5 or 6 for each pot) fresh dark pitted cherries (buy about 200g/7oz)
- 1 teaspoon runny honey or caster/superfine sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinammon or a quarter stick of cinammon (around 2.5cm/1 inch), to taste
- 3 cloves
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon kirsch cherry liqueur (to taste, optional)
Place all the ingredients except the kirsch in a small heavy-based saucepan, on low to medium heat. Simmer 5 to 8 minutes until the cherries soften. Take off heat and add kirsch if using. Taste to check the flavour. Pour into a clean bowl, take the 3 cloves out, let the compote cool then chill in the fridge till required.
- 190g/three-quarters of a cup plus 1 teaspoon semi-skimmed milk Options: almond, full-fat or other milks
- 2 cloves
- a pinch of salt
- 3 medium-large egg yolks (56 to 60g) – keep egg whites for stage 2
- 75g/half a cup (put 1 tablespoon in the milk) caster/superfine sugar or ground xylitol plus 20g/one-eighth of a cup for stage 2
- 15g/1 and a half tablespoons cornflour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinammon (or heat 1/4 cinammon stick in the milk) Option: pinch of nutmeg.
- 1/8 teaspoon or 10 drops bitter almond extract Waitrose or Nielsen-Massey (optional)
- 40g/a third of a cup plus 2 tsp ground almonds (or 40g pistachio paste)
Butter and sugar the moulds
Put a little softened butter in each mould and brush the bottom, then the sides with vertical lines. Add a teaspoon or two of caster/superfine sugar and tap and shake (over another mould so it catches the excess sugar) to cover the bottom then the sides (the technique’s on my buttering and flouring moulds video). Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to chill.STAGE 2 – your egg whites and crème pâtissière should be at room temperature (so out of the fridge around an hour)
Preparation: spoon the cherries with very little liquid carefully into the moulds without touching or dirtying the sides (use remaining liquid in a fruit salad). Then return to the fridge.Baking the soufflés
- 4 large egg whites (150-160g)
- 20g/2 scant tablespoons caster/superfine sugar or ground xylitol
Preheat the oven to 180°C (static, non-convection oven) or 160°C (fan-assisted oven) – make sure there’s a baking tray heating in the oven too, which you’ll place your soufflé dishes on
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl till they form soft peaks.
- Add the 20g of caster sugar gradually till you have shiny stiff peaks, but not dry. They should just reach the stage where they don’t fall out of the bowl upside-down.
- Fold a fifth of the whites into the crème pâtissière to loosen it up.
- Fold in the remaining whites till just combined. Don’t overwork or it will flatten out.
- Pour or spoon carefully into your moulds. Unlike my cheese soufflés these work best if filled to the top. Slide a butter knife across to even out the surface and clean the rim with a piece of paper. Some people use their thumb or a butter knife to create a small groove between the rim and soufflé batter.
- Bake your soufflés immediately or later, for 20 to 25 minutes (18 mins if you’d like a softer texture in the middle). Try to never open the oven door while they’re baking though you could after 20 mins.
- Sift icing sugar lightly over the tops and serve immediately.
I’ve baked these soufflés after they’ve been in the fridge a few hours and the next day for brunch, or 2 days later! They rise a little less as time goes by, but they’re still as delicious.Be brave – it’s just a soufflé
I had comments on my cheese soufflés post from people unsure if they’re courageous enough to bake a soufflé. Others love them but haven’t made one in a while, while a few people are enthusiastic about trying soufflés for the first time. So I’m going ahead with this challenge. Yay! Go on, here’s my soufflé pinterest board for more inspiration. I quote Julia Child:
This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!
So be brave! Why not? At worst your soufflés will fall a bit, and they’re supposed to eventually. It’s very likely they’ll be delicious, puff up and you’ll be dancing around your kitchen. Seize the day and whisk, make a soufflé!!! 🙂How to enter this challenge
This is an informal ‘cosy’ challenge. 🙂 On Thursday 6th August I’ll publish Our challenge soufflés post.
BLOGGERS: could you please publish your soufflé post on August 6th (or within a few days later) with or without a recipe, and link it to my August 6th post so we can all visit each other and read about each others’ soufflé experiences like last time with our tres leches challenge cakes. I’ll do a round-up as we go along and this time add your creations to my Soufflés Pinterest board. Of course you’re free to take your soufflé to any other linky parties or challenges and if you can include this image on your post that’s great, but you don’t have to.NON-BLOGGERS can post a photo and comments on liliscakes facebook page or send them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So farewell sweet reader! Oh, must offer you a little soufflé before I’m off.
Have a lovely week on a little cloud of happiness or putting together something light and fluffy! Happy baking and eating (of course)! 🙂 x