Cream cheese soufflés with basil granita

To complement the warmth and lightness of a baked vanilla soufflé, Paul Merrett serves a contrasting ice cold, vibrantly coloured granita
By Paul Merrett
Cream cheese soufflés with basil granita
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes plus cooling and freezing
  • Effort: hard

Ingredients

For the basil granita

  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 45 g basil, leaves, roughly chopped
  • 150 ml sauternes

For the soufflé base

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 g soft cheese
  • 2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped out and pods reserved
  • 60 g plain flour
  • 75 g butter, softened

For the berries

  • 200 g fresh raspberries
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • couple handfuls selection of mixed berries, such as blackberries, blackcurrants and strawberries

For the soufflés

  • softened butter, for brushing
  • 5-7 egg whites, you need about 150g total weight, room temperature
  • 150 g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Tips and Suggestions

You can watch Paul make his soufflé here.

Make sure all the equipment you use is clean and grease free. Greasy spoons, bowls or whisk stop egg whites from rising sufficiently which can make the soufflé collapse.

Ensure all your ingredients, especially the eggs, are at room temperature.

Opening the door while a soufflé is cooking can cause it to sink. Be aware that a sudden rise or fall in temperature during cooking will have that effect.

Method

1. For the basil granita: make a stock syrup by dissolving the sugar in 300ml water then leaving it to cool. Measure off 200ml of the stock syrup, the rest can be kept for using another time, then mix in the basil and sauternes. Pass through a sieve and pour into a freezable container. Place in the freezer until frozen, stirring with a fork every few hours so the mixture remains loose.

2. For the soufflé base: whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, then set the mixture aside. Put the milk and cheese in a saucepan then bring to a simmer. Mix constantly with a handheld whisk until the cheese has melted, then add both the vanilla pods and seeds. Separately mix the flour and butter to form a paste called a beurre manière. Whisk this paste into the cheese and milk mixture, then simmer, whisking all the time to prevent lumps, until the mixture has thickened and you can see little bubbles around the edge.

3. Add the egg yolk/sugar mixture to the soufflé saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the vanilla pod, then tip into a large pyrex bowl to cool. This is your soufflé base you wont be using it all, and it can be kept like this in the fridge for up to 36 hours, but its best used while fresh and warm.

4. For the soufflés: paint the inside of 4x 150ml ramekin dishes with soft but not oily butter, then put in the fridge to set. Remove and paint again with butter. Dust with caster sugar this time, shaking out the excess, then set aside. Preheat the oven to 210C/190C fan/gas 6 ½.

5. Whisk the 150g egg whites to almost stiff peaks, adding the caster sugar towards the end. Put 4 generous tablespoons of the soufflé mix into a small pyrex bowl, then add about 1 tbsp of the egg white mix and beat it in. Then gently mix in another tablespoon of the egg white, beating until light. There isnt a set amount of egg white or soufflé mix for this part of the recipe, but you can see what the end product should look like in our recipe video.

6. Spoon this mixture into the ramekins and give them a tap on a hard surface. Bake for about 8 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately, each with a shot glass of granita and the berries.

7. For the berries: heat the raspberries and sugar together very briefly in a saucepan, just to dissolve the sugar. Blend in a food processor, pass through a sieve and leave to cool. When cool, mix in a variety of berries.

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