Once mastered, this beautifully light dessert recipe with its intense raspberry flavour will be in your repertoire of special dinners for years to come. You might even feel like investing in individual copper pots that are the perfect size for soufflés, which is what patissier Vincent Gadan uses. Vincent says people should be seduced by their first mouthful: "You firstly have to think about the ingredients – the first bite of the soufflé has to be as light as possible, very flavoursome, and most importantly memorable so that the flavour lingers."
- softened butter
- freeze-dried raspberry powder (see Note)
- 2 punnets of raspberries
- 1 tbsp water
- 50 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp (heaped) cornflour
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 4 eggwhites (125 g)
- icing sugar, to dust
- rose petals, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Butter 4 individual soufflé dishes, coating well. Add a generous sprinkle of freeze-dried raspberry powder to each dish and tilt the dishes until the powder covers the butter.
Reserve 12 fresh raspberries for decorating the soufflés. Put the rest in a blender and blend to a puree. Sieve the puree and measure out 170 g.
Put the water and 30 g of the sugar in a saucepan and heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Mix the cornflour with the lemon juice in a small bowl and add to the sugar syrup along with 170 g of raspberry puree. Bring to the boil and cook for around 30 seconds, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Start whisking the eggwhites – either by hand or with an electric mixer. Whisk to soft peaks, then add the remaining sugar and keep whisking to a firm meringue.
Whisk a spoonful of the eggwhites through the cooled raspberry mixture until thoroughly combined. Use a spatula to gently fold the raspberry mixture through the bowl of remaining eggwhites until there is no eggwhite visible.
Spoon the mixture into the dishes, filling right to the top. Tap the dishes gently to remove any air pockets, and smooth the tops.
Place the soufflés in a deep dish and fill with cold water to halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes, until well risen and lightly golden on top.
Immediately dust the soufflés with icing sugar and decorate the tops with the reserved fresh raspberries and a rose petal on each. Serve with the remaining raspberry puree, breaking the surface of your soufflé to pour it in.
• Freeze-dried raspberry powder is available at specialist cooking stores or online. As an alternative to using raspberry powder, you can simply coat the dishes in sugar.