Monday, 25 June 2007

SHF #32 the sweetest thing…

“So, I ask you. What is your favourite, most craved dessert? What do you want when you are on a diet or when you've been away from home for a long time? What dessert always catches your eye on a menu in a restaurant and you've had it made by a thousand different people but never made it yourself? I want to know. I want you to make it for SHF this month.”

This month’s Sugar High Friday, hosted by the one and only Domestic Goddess Jennifer, is all about cravings. When I hear the word cravings, I immediately think of chocolate. Can’t help it, I am Belgian after all. However, Jennifer also writes ‘what dessert always catches your eye on a menu in a restaurant and you’ve had it made by a thousand different people but never made it yourself?’. And for me that would be, without a doubt, passionfruit soufflé. Now, this might well cost me my Belgian citizenship, but I would happily forego chocolate for anything passionfruit and passionfruit soufflé in particular. I can’t exactly say I’ve had this soufflé made by ‘a thousand different people’ – two would be more like it, but oh those two times were memorable.

The very first time I had a passionfruit soufflé, was when S and I were celebrating our 8th anniversary by treating ourselves to dinner at Le Gavroche. After our incredibly indulgent meal I of course went straight for the most chocolatey dessert on the menu, but S ordered, you guessed it, a passionfruit soufflé. Which he allowed me to try. And I was in heaven. And in luck. Because after polishing off my own dessert and ogling S’s dessert, he declared he was completely full and couldn’t eat another bite. So we switched plates, during which operation Mr Roux came out of his kitchen and asked us if there was a problem. I was completely star-struck – not to mention surprised. In this day and age, a famous chef, being there in his own restaurant. And actually cooking in the kitchen! But then he is a real chef’s chef, and not a businessman/celebrity/entrepreneur kind of chef. I managed to stammer something more or less coherent about the absolutely amazing food, his cookbook, and that I loved my own dessert very much but couldn’t help eating S’s dessert as well. Or something to that effect. My second passionfruit soufflé experience was of course the perfect ending to that wonderful dinner S and I had with friends in Brisbane I wrote about here.

So, telling Jennifer about my `sweetest thing´, that was the easy bit. But now she wanted me to make this as well? Didn´t she know that my two previous attempts at soufflé had disastrous results – one involving a hot water bath, the other one especially bought Le Creuset ramekins (I think they are too thick to evenly distribute the oven heat)? And didn’t she know my oven doesn’t work properly, the oven temperature is nowhere near accurate and the oven door doesn’t have a window? I was afraid, very afraid. But I would not let myself be beaten – I’m way too stubborn to give up that easily. I bought myself two new ramekins, found myself a recipe on the internet and set to work. First things first, and in this case that was setting up the camera and styling the whole thing, since soufflé starts to deflate the moment it comes out of the oven. Playing around with the camera, light, angle, set up, props etc. took the best part of an hour, and I hadn’t even started baking yet.

Getting the soufflé together was easy enough, but putting it into the oven and not knowing what went on behind that window-less oven door was ever so slightly unnerving. It must have been my lucky day though, because when I opened my oven door eight minutes later I looked at two beautifully risen soufflés. A quick dusting with icing sugar and a few quick snaps, and S and I delved into our little ramekins filled with passionfruity fluffyness. It was every bit as good as I remembered from the first two occasions, and tasted even better because I'd made it myself. Yay! Another thing conquered! Maybe puff pastry next? The rest of the day I could be seen walking around the house with a big idiotic grin on my face, occasionally shouting out 'I made soufflé!' but luckily that’s something only S had to endure.

Note: the recipe made enough for four portions and my ramekins were on the small side, so I had quite a bit leftover batter, which I used to experiment a bit. I tried little fluffy pancakes, scrambled eggs slash soufflé-omelette and crepes. None of the results were photogenic or blog-worthy, but encouraging nonetheless, not to mention rather tasty.


Beatrice said...

You make me want to rush to the store to buy passion fruits, especially as I never use them and they are so hard to find! I must! Gorgeous!
La tartine gourmande

SteamyKitchen said...

You're photographs are so stunning - I found myself browsing all the way through Feb-June!

Patricia Scarpin said...

These are beautiful, Inne - I love passion fruit.

Tartelette said...

Stunning pictures! Well done again Inne!
I love passion fruit souffle..knock, knock...I am at your door!!

Inne said...

Bea, passion fruit are not cheap here, but ever since my trip to Australia (where you get them served all the time - on yoghurt, in fruit salads etc.) I cannot stop myself from buying them.

Jaden, thanks! I'm not at all a photographer, I just try and experiment. Thanks for adding me to your blog roll.

Patricia, what's not to love about passion fruit!

Helene, please bring me some of your bagels, and your grandmother's apricot tart when you come! And I'll get my gran to send over some rice pudding :)

avital said...

i am so gonna make your wonderful dessert for tonight: a bunch of passion fruits are waiting especially!! Puff pastry, croissants, breads, brioches.. all things i'm used to but soufflé: this will be my very first time.. pray for me ;)

Courtney said...

you're pictures are great...and i think i would have gone for the chocolate dessert too, but that souffle looks really good