Valentine’s Day is long over, thankfully so. I am not fan of Valentine’s Day in general, it’s quite commercialized and what is so special about a day when on that day red roses and every flower costs so much. Now in fact when it’s all over, now if you gift someone a red rose, yellow rose, or anything out of love it makes this extra special. There is no pressure of giving gift because it’s Valentine’s Day, so now it’s really comes from within you. I do believe in the power of sweet sudden surprises. If you want to express your love to someone make him/her this soufflé and you will touch him/her deeply. If that someone is a person you romantically involved with, try sleeping beside him/her without his knowledge while he/she is asleep, so when he/she wakes up, sees you. Now that’s something.
Forget about romance and all its lights and shadows and let me tell you about this soufflé. First things first this is a soufflé made with a type of Jaggery, date-palm jaggery. You know there are these date-palm trees and people collect the flavored sap from the tree by putting cut marks or incision at the top part of the tree and they make a way for the sap to come n get collected in a hanging earthen vessel tied to the tree. Now this sap has a distinct flavor and you can drink it fresh, when it is put on heat and reduced by simmering for long periods of time it develops an unique taste, more intensified. That’s the rough idea of how it is made, as for turning it into jaggery it is further reduced and then it solidifies as it cools down.
Now for the soufflé I could have made it without the addition of crème patissiere, in that case it would have been even more light n puffed up, but then I thought I want it make it a little more rich so I made the crème patissiere with the melted Nalen gur, which gave it a pronounced flavor of that golden gur. And it does bring a touch of creaminess in the soufflé, however on another day I might make it without the special crème patissiere. Do you know that in French the word “soufflé” literally means “puffed up “? I read somewhere that day when we will make a soufflé of something it will mean to arrive at a texture, like airy, light, puffed up-now that is a way of looking at this word now. The word “soufflé” made into English vocabulary in the early nineteenth century, where it used to be described as an airy cooked confection of beaten egg-whites with the egg yolks with a savory and sweet flavoring.
One thing about this special soufflé is that it tastes better the next day, as least that what I found out, I kept them in the freeze and next morning it was such a pleasure eating it, soft airy gurry goodness. And I thought this is quiet it! So fit for the Valentine’s Day and in fact for any day when we want to make it special and we make this soufflé for the people we love and watch the smile on their face as they get soufflé-d. somehow I ended up imaging this- I am little kid and my mom makes this soufflé sometimes, and I watch her at times curiously how she makes it, she beats the egg-whites, makes the pastry crème, pile them high on little ramekins and when she gets them out of the oven- woooo! They have risen like sweet monsters! And my anticipation makes them even tastier. So if you are a mom reading this having little kids, do make them this and they will have such wonderful memories.
By the way that morning was quiet eventful when I made this soufflé, first I was so cautious that there is no trace of egg-yolks in the egg-whites, not a drop fat in it and in this super-cautiousness I tumbled the egg-whites on the table…errghhhh! Disaster! Disaster! And it was only the beginning. I fixed the egg-whites telling myself to calm down as I started making the crème patissiere and the point comes when it starts to get thick and you have whisk it all the time at that point for a minute, so there I was whisking madly and I checked my mobile too see if a minute is over and somehow in a sweet sleepery moment my mob jumped into the crème patissiere bowl! Lol! I couldn’t believe it, I snatched it out before it even submerged a bit into the crème since it was so thick...it all happened within some seconds-the fall and the rescue. But oouch ouch! What an event! Ha-ha…I ended up laughing about it after that and even after these small disasters in the kitchen the soufflés puffed up like good boys. So V for victory and P for puffed up.
You can beat the egg-whites with a hand beater or a stand mixer or if you are like me young and energetic trust your hands. After making that mayonnaise, beating the egg-whites to soft peak was a Childs play to me, literally. And it’s fun, as I beat in with my hands I literally see the change I bring in, starting with the liquid egg whites as they absorb the air and become so airy and white.
So now I will tell you the special recipe. Whisk whisk puff puff.
The recipe: you will need
For the crème patissiere/pastry cream:
50 g shaved nalen gur/date palm jaggery
2 egg yolks
25g corn flour
25m unsalted/salted butter.
Begin by making the crème patissiere because it will take some time to cool off while you will prepare the egg whites. Whisk together the shaved gur, egg yolks and corn flour together in a bowl. Put the milk in heavy based saucepan n slowly let it come to a boil, just then remove it from the heat and whisk one third of the milk into the egg mix. Now quickly tip the egg mix back into the milk pan and keep whisking. Then put it back in the low heat, stirring constantly let it come to a boil, as it comes to a boil give it 1 min, don’t stop whisking. After that take it off the heat, add the butter, stir until it melts. So let it cool off to warm and then cover it with cling film and leave to cool it off. Remember when we have to fold the pastry crème with the beaten egg whites; we need it a little warm, not cold.
For the Nalen gur syrup:
4-5 tbsp of shaved nalen gur, melt in a low heat with 1 tbsp of water, once melted keep in a low heat for 2 mins. Pour 1 tbsp or more each into 4 ramekins with base diameter of 2 1/2 inches (6cm), top diameter 3 ½ inches (7.5cm), 2 inches (5cm) deep, lightly buttered. Pour so that the base of the ramekins is coated with the syrup.
Pre-heat the oven to 170 Celsius, 325 Fahrenheit, gas mark 3.
For the soufflés:
3 large eggs
1/8th of big lime or 1/4th of a small lime or 1 tsp of lemon juice
2 tbsp of castor sugar
Separate the eggs, I find it to separate the eggs safely when they are just out of the refrigerator, then I let them come to normal temperature. Take a big airy bowl and make sure it is very clean and grease free, just to be sure take a little lemon or lime wedge and wipe the bowl with it. Next put the egg whites into the bowl and squeeze the lime or lemon juice into the egg whites. Start beating with a big wire whisk or with a electric hand beater, if you are using an electric beater, start slow, then to medium to high, beat the egg whites to almost stiff peak but the tip of the egg whites should bend down a little when you pick them up, so we don’t need stiff peaks actually, lower than that, slightly higher than soft peak, while your egg whites are getting to become fluffy as you are beating them add the castor sugar slowly. If you are whisking by hands like me add the castor sugar once you see the egg whites reaching the soft peak, first add 1 tbsp and after sometime add another. We are doing it just to give the beaten whites a little sweetness and to stabilize it also.
Now when you have reached that stage where it is almost stiff peak but the peak bends down a little as you put it up, so now it is time to fold the warm pastry crème into the egg whites. So take about 2 tbsp of the egg whites into the pastry crème and whisk it vigorously to light it up, then take about one fourth of the egg whites and still vigorously beat it in, then take half of the egg whites and gently fold it with a spatula by gently lifting it up along the circumference of the bowl and slowly folding it in the middle. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
Now spoon the mixture into the ramekins, pile it high if you want to, then run a finger into the inside rim of each one. Now place them in a baking sheet and put them in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for15-20 minutes or until the tops start to get golden. Then take them out and you can see your soufflé is so puffed up, as you take them after 5mintues they will sink, that’s normal, don’t let your heart sink, let it rather sing a song because it is so delicious, even more on the next day. Why they will mostly sink is because we have folded the heavy crème patissiere into it, which is the reason. Enjoy them completely now whenever and however you like them hot or cold or normal. Bon appétit.