Sunday, January 28, 2007

Banana and passion fruit soufflè

Banana and passion fruit always remind me of home, Brazil. Not that we are the only country that has those fruits are native specimen. It is just that we have such wonderful variety of bananas, and our passion fruits are really big and juicy. I grew up on passion fruit juice to calm the nerves.

Back to the soufflé. It is a Gordon Ramsey recipe, from his book Sunday Lunch. I also watched Ramsey prepare it on a cd-rom that came with the book and in it he uses very soft butter to brush the ramekins – as opposed to melted butter as described in the recipe. I used very soft butter as well. This soufflé is absolutely delicious and banana and passion fruit work so well together that I felt like making more experiment with them. You will have to return in order to see my experiments. For now I will leave you with the soufflé. Enjoy!!

pâtissière base

150ml milk

100ml double cream

15g plain flour

10g corn flour

3 large egg yolks

50g caster sugar

The soufflé

4 ripe passion fruit (the skin is slightly wrinkled)

1 ripe banana peeled (approx 100g)

Squeeze of lemon juice

2 tbsp banana liqueur (optional – in my opinion it makes no difference)

About 20g softened butter, to brush

50g caster sugar, plus extra in case you want to dust with it

Grated chocolate, in case you want to dust with it (I recommend)

2 large egg whites

Icing sugar, to dust soufflés at the end

For the crème pâtissière base:

Heat the milk and cream in a heavy-based saucepan until almost boiling. Sift the flour and corn flour together. Reserve. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl, and then mix in the flour well, so that no lumps form. Add a splash (not a drop more) of the hot creamy milk and whisk well (I like using a
fouet) until the mixture is smooth. Then gradually whisk in the rest of the milk. Pour back into the pan and whisk over a medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes until thickened and smooth. You will be able to see the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a bowl, cover and cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin forming.

To prepare the filling:

Halve the passion fruit and scoop out the seeds and juice into a sieve set over a bowl. Press to extract the juice, and then pour into a blender. Break the banana into pieces and add to the blender with the lemon juice and liqueur (if using it). Give it a good whiz until smooth, then stir the mixture into the crème ptissière and set aside.

Heat the oven to 190oC.Brush 6-8 deep ramekins with a generous layer of melted butter, using upward strokes that imitate tram lines. That will help the soufflé rise once the heat is in action. Dust the inside with caster sugar or grated chocolate – I think that the chocolate is by far the nicest way, and pale the ramekins in the fridge to chill and set.

When ready to serve, whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl to firm peaks, then gradually whisk in the 50g caster sugar a spoonful at a time to make a film, glossy meringue. Whisk a third of the meringue into the crème pâtissière base and mix to combine everything into a smooth paste. Just then carefully start folding the rest in, using a large metal spoon, being careful not to break the bubbles of air created.

Divide the soufflé mix among the prepared dishes – only ½ first. Tap them on the work surface to level the mixture. Then proceed to filling them to the top and level with a palette knife and run your fingerprint around the edge of the ramekin. It will create a slight depression between the edge of the ramekin and the top of the soufflé. It will help the soufflé rise evenly. Sit the ramekins on a wide baking tray and bake for 12 minutes until well risen and lightly golden on top. DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO OPEN THE OVEN DOOR UNTIL THE TIME IS OVER. They will be a bit wobbly in the middle when ready. Dust with the icing sugar and serve at once.