This past weekend saw Mark Greenaway as the guest chef on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.
He was in good company with Jon Richardson, Paloma Faith, Frank Skinner and Sarah Hadland looking on as he created his sticky toffee pudding soufflés. There was baited breath all around. Simon Rimmer seemed to think that attempting soufflés on live TV was a very brave move. But Mark calmly explained that soufflés are a dish that have a bad reputation for being difficult but once you follow the right steps, get to know your oven and use cornflour to stabilise the base then you really can’t go wrong.
The soufflés appeared out of the oven perfectly risen; they were drizzled with salted caramel sauce and were devoured by the celebrity guests and crew.
And we now know what to get the person who has everything for Christmas…a sugar thermometer!
For the base:
500g dates, pitted
150g caster sugar
Place 100ml of water, the dates and treacle in a pan and bring to a boil
Simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated
Blend this mixture till smooth and pass through a fine sieve
Meanwhile put the caster sugar in a pan with 80ml of water
Melt the sugar and water together and bring to a simmer you are looking to reach the soft ball stage (118C)
Mix the sugar syrup, date mixture and cornflour together
To make the soufflé:
200g egg whites
80g caster sugar
Softened butter and extra caster sugar for coating the ramekins
Preheat the oven to 170C
Brush the ramekins with softened butter then dip into a bowl of caster sugar
Shake the sugar around the ramekins so that it is evenly coated, then tip out any excess
Place 250g of the base mixture in a large bowl (the rest can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later)
Whisk the egg whites and as soon as they start to turn white and increase in volume gradually add the 80g of caster sugar and continue whisking until you have a stiff meringue that hold its peaks
Gently fold this into the base
Fill ramekins and level the tops with a palate knife. Bake the soufflés for 8-10 minutes or until risen and golden brown