Sunday, November 9, 2014

Iced apricot soufflés

The perfect end to a special dinner — these individual soufflés are almost frozen but yet soft enough to just spoon into. Serve them with a hot black currant sauce.

* Serves 4

  • juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 (1/4-oz.) envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 3 medium eggs, separated, plus 2 more whites
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp. Amaretto liqueur
  • 1 cup apricot purée
  • 3/4 cup black currants (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. superfine sugar

Prepare 4 ramekins by wrapping a band of waxed paper around the outside of each, coming to about 2 inches above the rims; secure with tape. Lightly grease the paper and inside of the dishes. Warm the orange juice in a small saucepan, sprinkle on the gelatin, and let dissolve. Cool. Put the orange zest, yolks, sugar, and vanilla into a large bowl. Whisk until really thick, pale, and creamy. Cool slightly. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and almost forming peaks. In a third bowl, whip the cream until it is stiff and holds its shape. Stir the gelatin mixture, along with the Amaretto, into the beaten yolks. Then fold in the whipped cream, apricot purée, and lastly the egg whites. When lightly but thoroughly blended, spoon into the ramekins, smooth the tops, and freeze for 2 to 3 hours.

To make the sauce, heat all but a few of the black currants in a saucepan with the sugar; cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Pour through a sieve to remove all the seeds, if you wish, then add the whole black currants to the pan. Set aside. To serve, take the ramekins out of the freezer 10 minutes before eating, peel off the paper, and make a hole in the center of the top. Heat the sauce at the last minute and pour a little into the middle. Serve the rest separately.

Variations:

  • Apricot & kirsch soufflés
Prepare the basic recipe but replace the Amaretto with kirsch and the black currants with black cherries.

  • Peach soufflés
When preparing the basic recipe, replace the apricots with peaches or nectarines and the black currants with raspberries.

  • Banana & praline soufflés
Prepare the basic recipe, replacing the apricots with bananas. When ready to serve, remove the paper and carefully dip the sides of the soufflés into crushed hazelnut praline. Serve with or without a sauce.

  • Iced syllabub soufflés
Prepare the basic recipe, replacing the Amaretto and apricot purée with 1 1/4 cups good dessert wine. Serve with crisp cookies or tuiles.