When it comes to Souffle, I tend to have my Julia Child moments. I just try and keep in mind her relaxed attitude when it comes to cooking, especially when things don’t turn out right. Like she said, “Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes.”
Souffles, or these wonderful lightly baked cakes with egg yokes and whites, are notoriously hard recipes to master, even for the most talented of chefs. So many elements go into having them rise correctly and stay risen when they do. You can follow the same recipe to exact measurements and directions, but sometimes your souffle comes out perfect and other times it never rises or deflates immediately.
So when my Pistachio Souffle did its best to rise and then deflated after just two minutes on the table, know I’m gritting my teeth and bearing it with a smile as I share these pictures with you. I think that is ultimately what Kate would do too. Even in her toughest hours publicly, she is always perfectly poised and the ultimate example of grace.
Speaking of Kate, she is a big fan of Pistachio Souffle. Before her wedding, she was spotted dining out with her soon-to-be-mother-in-law Camilla, Camilla’s daughter, Laura Lopes, and her sister, Pippa at the 5-star Berkley Hotel. After a hefty lunch of foie gras and roasted sea bass, she was caught tucking into a Pistachio Souffle with Ice Cream for dessert.
As far as dessert goes, Pistachio Souffle is a fine choice. It is light and delicate; the perfect dessert after a filling meal. The recipe I choose to make is from BBC Food. It was simple enough to follow, though I did have some trouble finding a Pistachio Paste so I had to make one of my own. Personally, I feel like the addition of the chocolate sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the sweet and nutty flavors of the souffle, but feel free to serve the souffle with ice cream à la Kate.
Even though it didn’t stay risen for long, the dessert tasted delightful. It’s definitely something you should make in your kitchen to share!
2 Egg Yokes
3 Egg Whites
4 Tablespoons of Golden Caster Sugar, divided (I used Honey for a healthier alternative)
1 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Cornstarch
1/2 Cup of Whole Milk
2 Tablespoons of Pistachio Cream or Paste (I made mine by running roasted, shelled Pistachios in my food processor until I had a fine powder)
Melted Butter, for the Ramekins
50 grams of 70% Dark Chocolate
1/4 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
4 Tablespoons of Water
To make the Souffle based, put the Egg Yokes, 1 Tablespoon of the Sugar, and Vanilla in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Then whisk in the Flour and Cornstarch until there are no lumps.
On the stovetop in medium size pan, bring the Milk to a simmer. Then gradually pour the warmed milk into the egg mix, whisking the entire time. Be sure to take this step slow because the hot milk can cook the egg yokes giving you chunks of eggs in your souffle.
Clean our your milk pan, and then pour the mix back in. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook for a few minutes until thickened. My advice would be to whisk the pan ever so often as the foam from the milk makes it hard to tell if the mixture has thickened. Then, pour the mixture into a bowl and top it with Plastic Wrap, pushing it directly on top of the mixture so a film doesn’t form. Set it aside to cool, but don’t chill it! My tip is if you have a bakers rack, set the bowl on it to allow air to circulate underneath it so it will cool faster.
Heat the oven to 375F and put a baking sheet in the oven. Melt your Butter in a small bowl using the microwave, then using a brush, make upward strokes on 4 ramekins with the butter. Go all the way to the rim, then chill for 3 minutes, and bush on another layer. The upward strokes help the souffle to rise.
Whisk all the Egg Whites to soft peaks then add in the remaining Sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time. Continue whisking until you have firm peaks. I would advise using a electric mixer as completing this task with a whisk alone is a major feat. Mix half of the whites into the cooled base with a whisk, then carefully fold in the rest.
Divide the mix between the 4 ramekins. Cook the souffles on the hot baking sheet for a 12-15 minutes or until risen. Your timing could be different; mine took 30 minutes. The most important part is to wait for the visual cues that it has risen past the edges of the ramekins.
Put the Chocolate and Heavy Whipping Cream in a bowl with the Water and microwave it in short blasts. Stir the sauce together and serve it with the souffles.
*** Shawn is a contributing writer for What Would Kate Do. She also writes her own blog, The Healthy Helping, sharing her favorite recipes and musings on food. ***