Serv­ing up a tasty souf­fle

The Advocate (Perth) - - LET’S EAT -

SOUF­FLE is the ul­ti­mate show-off dish but it’s re­ally not that tricky once you know how.

Fol­low our step-by-step guide and you’ll be serv­ing top-notch souf­fle in no time — though ob­vi­ously don’t tell your guests it’s that sim­ple.

Firstly, brush your ramekins with melted but­ter. Tip in some crushed nuts and swirl each one around so the nuts coat the in­side. You can also use parme­san, caster sugar or some finely grated choco­late, de­pend­ing on the flavour of your souf­fle.

The ba­sis of a souf­fle is a white sauce en­riched with egg yolks, or a cus­tard. To make a white sauce melt 25g but­ter in a saucepan and stir in 25g plain flour.

Keep stir­ring and cook for a minute, then slowly pour in 300ml of milk, stir­ring like mad so you don’t get any lumps. Keep stir­ring and gen­tly heat un­til it thick­ens. You can then add any cheese, herbs or other flavour­ings. Stir un­til the cheese melts, then cool it a bit and beat in the egg yolks. Make sure you give it some love with salt and pep­per.

Get a re­ally clean bowl and tip in your egg whites. With re­ally clean beat­ers, start to whisk. They’ll go through three stages, start­ing by get­ting bub­bly and foamy. Keep whisk­ing un­til they get to the soft peak stage — this is when they’re fluffy and light. Keep whisk­ing some more un­til they get to the stiff peak stage.

Mix a large spoon­ful of the egg whites into the sauce. This’ll loosen it so you can fold the rest in more eas­ily, and there­fore keep the air in. Care­fully fold the rest of the egg whites in, a spoon­ful at a time us­ing a large metal spoon (a wooden spoon can knock out too much air). Try not to over-mix as this’ll push out the air you need for them to rise. If there are lumps of egg white, knock gen­tly with the edge of your spoon. Spoon the mix­ture into the ramekins and run a fin­ger­nail around the rims to make a “lip”.

Now you need to make a bain-marie. Put the ramekins into a roast­ing tray and pour boil­ing wa­ter into the tray, to come half-way up the sides of the dishes.

Bake in an oven pre­heated to 180C for 20 min­utes. They should be nicely risen and golden. The souf­fles need to be eaten straight away be­fore they col­lapse.

If they col­lapse, or if you want to make them ahead, you can sim­ply bake them again. Tip them out of the ramekins, put on a bak­ing tray and bake at 200C for a fur­ther five min­utes to set.

Savoury or sweet – the choice is yours.

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