Delve into the soft gooey centre of these little beauties and you’ll get a hit of Christmassy flavours from the sweet prunes and Armagnac. You mustn’t fear the soufflé, they are actually far more robust than people make out. You can even take it from the oven, dig in a spoon to see if it’s ready and pop it back in if it isn’t and it will be none the worse for wear. Turn to page 126 for the recipe.
Recipe: Boozy prune soufflés
200g pitted prunes
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp fennel seeds, wrapped in a piece of muslin and tied into a bag
20g plain flour
20g butter, plus melted butter, to brush
75g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
200ml whole milk
2 egg yolks and 3 whites
6 small scoops vanilla ice cream
6 x 175ml ramekins
1 Put the prunes in a small pan with the Armagnac, vanilla and fennel, and heat gently until steaming. Remove from the heat and leave to stand overnight.
Discard the fennel seeds in the bag, then remove 6 prunes. Purée the other prunes with the juices in a food processor or blender until smooth. Set aside.
2 Put the flour, butter and 2 tbsp of the sugar in a bowl and rub with your fingertips to resemble breadcrumbs. Bring the milk to just below the boil then whisk in the flour and butter mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over a low heat until you have a thick sauce. Remove from the heat and beat in the 2 egg yolks. Spoon into a bowl and set aside to cool completely, placing a layer of clingfilm on the surface to stop a skin forming.
3 Brush the ramekins with
melted butter, then dust the insides with sugar. Put on a baking sheet. Heat oven to 200C/Fan 180/400F.
4 Once cooled, fold the prune purée through the custard. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then gradually whisk in the rest of the sugar until you have a glossy meringue mixture. Mix a spoonful of this into the prune custard to loosen it, then carefully fold in the rest. Spoon into ramekins so they are just over three- quarters full. Bake for 12–15 mins until risen and firm with a slight wobble.
5 Cut a slit in the top of each, push in a soaked prune and top with a scoop of the ice cream, then serve.
Prune and Armagnac soufflé recipe taken from Winter Cabin Cooking by Lizzie Kamenetzky. Photography by Nassima Rothacker