The perfect soufflé is as enchanting as it is delightful. Few single dishes can evoke emotions like a soufflé; wide eyed surprise, childish intrigue, and eventually, warm satisfaction. In the most unique way, the soufflé demands technical appreciation and execution second to no other dish, but at the same time permits playful expression of creativity in a most rewarding way.
You see, my own personal culinary journey is intricately tied to this most impressive of desserts. Having failed miserably at my first six attempts to create a gorgeous chocolate soufflé, my confidence was badly jaded. However, after revisiting the recipe with renewed focus, I was able to see the seventh attempt rise to a most glorious and rewarding wobbly stature.
Sitting on my kitchen floor peering through the oven window, I believed in myself again. It was one of my most fulfilling moments in the kitchen, and something I will hold near to me for the remainder of my days. I sincerely hope that this recipe, my banana soufflé recipe, can bring to you even a fraction of what it has brought to me. The humble soufflé has reminded me that determination, patience, and confidence are all part of what defines a good cook.
Any soufflé is essentially made up of three parts, a crème pâtissière or confectioner’s custard, a French meringue, and a flavoring element, in this case the bananas.
- For the crème pâtissière, pour the milk (150 ml) into a small pan, add the cream (100ml double cream) and 1tbsp of sugar and slowly bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Meanwhile sift the flour (15g) and corn flour (100g) together. Beat the egg yolks (3) with the remaining sugar (25g) and add the flour and corn flour mixture.
- Combine the yolks with the milk mixture and while simmering gently, whisk for 3 minutes then continue off the heat. When cooled, incorporate 2 pureed bananas into the mixture until smooth.
- For the French merengue, whisk the egg whites (200g) to soft peaks. Gradually start to add in the sugar (150g), whisking well in between each addition. Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk until you have a thick and glossy mixture. 1/3 at a time, fold the merengue into the flavored crème pâtissière.
- Into buttered ramekins sprinkled with evenly distributed grated chocolate or sugar (roll the ramekin around to distribute), place the soufflé mixture. Level the surface with a palate knife and run your thumb around the edge of the mixture to ensure the soufflé does not fall over the edges when rising. Bake the soufflé for about 10 minutes or until risen in a preheated oven at 190 °C.
On my most recent trip to the Caribbean, admittedly perhaps influenced by leftover contentment from the flowing spirits that are synonymous with West Indian culture, I used a rum sauce as an accompaniment. Rum and bananas go beautifully together. I encourage you to be creative with this step; there are many rum sauce recipes out there. Don’t be afraid to try one.