#1 – 48 Recipes Challenge: Recipe 27 – Hot Raspberry Soufflé

This month’s recipe is a totally new one for me because anything in this category previously sat firmly in the ‘too difficult’ box.  I’ve never attempted a soufflé before (assuming them to be fraught with disaster) but I was feeling brave, I had a sympathetic dinner guest and I also had an alternative dessert on standby in case it didn’t work, so hence my June recipe is a soufflé!  Hot Raspberry Soufflé to be precise.

As well as the fear that the soufflé simply wouldn’t rise, I was also under the impression that soufflés had to be made literally seconds before they were put in the oven because of the risk of them losing air and therefore losing height.  For dinner parties I hate doing anything which requires any complicated attention at the last minute; I much prefer to do dishes which can be prepared well in advance of my guests arriving both to avoid last minute stress and to allow for preparation of alternatives in the event of a culinary disaster.

However, I did have a soufflé recipe in my ever growing pile of recipes I want to cook ‘one day’, so having made the decision made to attempt it, I spent some time on google looking for hints and tips for successful soufflés.  I was variously told:

  • The first few times you’ll think you’ve undermixed it. You probably haven’t.  Just mix it until the white streaks disappear and that’s enough
  • Line the ramekins with soft (not melted) butter and sugar (for sweet soufflés) or Parmesan (for savoury soufflés) then freeze the ramekins to set the butter before putting the mixture into them. The theory is that the rough texture helps the soufflé to climb
  • Bake the soufflé on the bottom shelf of the oven – apparently bottom is best for anything you want to rise (who knew?)
  • Turn the oven up during pre heating to higher than you want it to be to cook the soufflé, then turn it down to the correct cooking temperature as you put the soufflé into the oven (to compensate for the loss of heat as you open the oven door)
  • Place the ramekins on a pre heated baking tray to help to cook the soufflés from the bottom up as well as the top down and ensure they cook through

I used all of these tips!

In terms of this particular recipe, the most time consuming bit was making the raspberry coulis.  Do you have any idea how long it takes to push 250g of raspberries through a sieve?  I made the coulis ahead of time, prepared and froze the butter and sugar lined ramekins and then made the meringue mix by whisking the eggs and beating in the sugar just before my guest was due.  I folded the coulis into the meringue, filled the ramekins and left them on the worktop to come up to room temperature whilst we ate the main course, really as an experiment to see if they would stand up to being left for a while as this is the only way I’m prepared to even consider them for a dinner party dish.  (This would, of course, be less of an issue for savoury soufflés served as a starter as they wouldn’t need to sit around whilst the meal was eaten.)  I was also a bit nervous that the ramekins would crack if they went straight from the freezer to the oven.

Once we’ve enjoyed the main course, the time came to pop the soufflés into the bottom of the oven, onto their pre heated baking tray, turn the temperature down, shut the door and hope.

And wait…

And wait…

nervously…

They rose!  Magnificently!

Hot Raspberry Souffle - my first ever!

Hot Raspberry Souffle – my first ever!

And even better, they were cooked all the way through.  Delightfully pink, delightfully fluffy, beautifully flavoured and in fact pretty much as perfect as they could be.

I was so delighted with them I forgot to dust the top with icing sugar and pop on a fresh raspberry, as I had intended to do, but nevertheless I count them a thing of beauty just as they are.

Beginners luck?  Maybe, but I’m excited enough to contemplate giving a savoury soufflé a try sometime soon.  It really was not as difficult as I thought it would be.

Scores for this recipe are:

Healthiness – 4/10 (there are worse desserts to have and it does at least have fruit in it)

Ease of prep – 7/10 (easier than I thought it would be, especially as it did hold up to some hanging around)

Flavour/taste – 10/10 (intense raspberry, sweet, light – simply glorious)

Should you want to try this recipe, here it is.  Let me know if you get a good rise too!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/foolproofhotraspberr_12919

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