Our son’s French class visited a French restaurant as part of their appreciation of all things French. He came back with three amazing little treats, and we’ve been wanting to commit them to the formal kitchen notebook for some time. This is the first. It is sweet, but so very worth the effort.
One-persimmon French excursion souffle
- 4 egg whites
- 1 very ripe persimmon
- 1 tablespoon of cornflour
- 60 grams of castor sugar
- a smear of butter and extra castor sugar to coat the inside of the ramekins
- Smear butter over the inside of the ramekins then coat with castor sugar. The way to do this is to put a large spoonful of sugar into the ramekin, then turn it around to get the sugar to move across and stick to all the inner surfaces. You should end up with a pretty-looking crystal coating. Pop the ramekins into the fridge for a few minutes, then do the sugar thing again to make sure it covers the entire inner surface of the ramekins.
- Mash the persimmon. You can use a fork or a small blender if you have one, but make sure it is a really smooth pulp.
- Heat the persimmon and cornflour in a small saucepan. Stir constantly. Remove from the heat as soon as it has thickened. Pop it in the fridge to cool.
- In a very clean and dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until they start to thicken up. Then add the sugar slowly. Keep whisking until the mixture looks glossy and stiff peaks begin to form.
- Gently fold in the persimmon and cornflour mixture. (If it is too thick to fold in, you can add a little cold water and mash it together with a fork to form a thick but smooth paste; then fold it into the egg whites/sugar).
- Pour the mixture into the ramekins and bake for 8-12 minutes at 180 degrees C (350 F) until the top starts to colour. It should also be a bit crispy. The souffles usually roughly double in height.
- Serve immediately.
We fill the ramekins only half to three-quarters full, so doubling in height means they come to just over the top. It is a neater thing to do with kids. Because this is a very sweet dessert, you could use tiny ramekins and everyone would still be quite happy.
From the photos, you might think we didn’t get the doubling. We did, but we just couldn’t take those pics fast enough! As it was, they stabilised at a respectable 75% increase, and still looked impressive and tasted just fine.
The cornflour is important. It stabilises the souffle and avoids that embarrassing collapsed crater look.
Coating the ramekins with sugar and the chilling is supposed to help the souffle to rise.
Source: My son’s notes from a very exciting school French excursion to ‘The Hospitality Establishment’ in Sydney (amongst other destinations). The original used three passionfruits, but I had a persimmon to use up.