You know what I remember about learning to make fruit soufflés in culinary school? EASY PEASY. That’s right. No fussing with chocolate sauce, cheese sauce or English custard. Just whip egg whites and fold in a base of fruit puree mixed with sugar and egg yolks and bake. DONE. So over the holidays I brushed off the old notebooks and devised this recipe for one of DP’s favorite desserts – Raspberry Soufflé.
Ok I know it’s not raspberry season, but using frozen purees actually yields the most consistent soufflés. Most pastry chefs use Boiron brand, which comes frozen in 1 kg bricks. At home, I defrost, divide and re-freeze them in 200 g portions so I can pull only what’s needed to make a batch of soufflés or raspberry sauce, etc. You can make your own puree using frozen raspberries (seems like a waste of perfectly fine fresh raspberries to puree them), but you may need to add some sugar to get the flavor right. When making the fruit base, I recommend adding a pinch of salt to balance the tartness of the raspberry, and a drop of raspberry liqueur or lime juice to round out the flavors.
To guarantee soufflé success you need to remember these three things:
- Be sure to spray or butter the your molds evenly.
- Do not over whip the egg whites or over mix the batter.
- Preheat your oven to 400 F then bake your soufflés at 375 F.
Traditionally, the insides of the soufflé molds are brushed with soft butter in an upward motion, in theory encouraging the soufflés to rise evenly as they bake. In testing, occasionally a soufflé would stick to one side of the rim as it baked, causing it to rise lopsided. Eventually I found that a generous coating of non-stick spray yielded more consistent results.
Whipping the egg whites to soft peak is what causes the soufflé to rise. Over whipping the egg whites will cause them to weep and loose their structure. As with cakes that use egg whites as the leavening agent, start by adding a third of the egg whites to the fruit base to lighten it before gently folding it into the remaining egg whites.
Starting the soufflés in a 400 F oven means they they heat up quickly, generating the steam needed for them to expand and rise. Dropping the temperature to 375 F gives the soufflés enough time to cook through, developing enough structure to hold their shape before the tops burn. You’ll know they’re ready when they’ve risen out of the ramekin by about 1/2″ to 3/4″, their tops are set and are slightly domed, and they feel soft but springy when you press on the center. They will of course start to deflate as soon as you take them out of the oven so dust them with powdered sugar and serve them immediately. As long as they are hot, they will stay “souffléd” for a few minutes.
In testing, I also tried a few recipes that added cornstarch or flour to the base, and cream of tartar to the egg whites. I found adding cornstarch or flour to the base was unnecessary, and gave the soufflés a denser pudding like texture we didn’t care for. Adding cream of tartar to whip the egg whites was not entirely necessary, but for those who are nervous about making soufflés and want a little insurance, a pinch of cream of tartar does help stabilize and give the soufflés a bit more lift.
Ingredients, makes 4 – 8 oz. ramekins
3 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp. sugar (25 g) plus extra for molds
1 scant cup raspberry puree (200 g)
pinch of salt
powdered sugar and fresh raspberries, for serving
1 tsp. Chambord or raspberry liqueur
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
A pinch of cream of tartar, added to the egg whites before whipping
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray the ramekins/ molds with non-stick spray and evenly coat the insides with sugar, discarding any excess.
- Be sure your eggs are well separated, especially that the whites are very clean and don’t contain any bits of yolk.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until they are pale yellow. Stir in raspberry puree, salt, and if using, Chambord or lime juice.
- In a larger bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peak. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the raspberry mixture, then gently fold it into the remaining egg whites, being careful they don’t deflate.
- Fill the prepared molds almost to the rims with batter, being careful not to drip on the rims or edges of the molds. Place them immediately in the oven and lower the oven temperature to 375 F.
- Bake soufflés for 15 minutes until they have fully risen and set. Baking time may vary depending on your oven (I make them in a small countertop oven) and the shape of your ramekins.
For more about the science of making soufflés: