In the process of researching into a couple of rather complicated posts I began reading Peter Barham’s The Science of Cooking.
Peter Barham is a professor at the University of Bristol. But he is also, thankfully, a human being and he makes the science behind the basis of cooking not only easy to understand, but even enjoyable to read. And, in his chapter on soufflés he gives a recipe for a Smartie soufflé as a sort of flippant aside. “It’s a fun dessert” he tells us, “for youngsters of all ages (at least my partner thinks it’s fun).”
Reader, I had three small nieces and nephews to stay, and it seemed just the ticket. Even if they didn’t enjoy making this multi-coloured marvel (as I hoped it would be), there was a good chance that I would, involving, as it did, a couple of rather daring moves and a good deal of showmanship.
In terms of entertainment this was a huge success, and, somewhat to all our surprise, it was also rather good to eat!
But I reckon Nestlé has now developed their Smarties to be non-run because Barham comments: “Note the colour from the coating of the Smarties will diffuse into the soufflé…the finished soufflé will have a rainbow appearance.” I was a bit underwhelmed by the colour experience!
This is what to do (I’ve tweaked it a bit from his original recipe):
Recipe for Smart Smartie Soufflé
For six (in ramekins of 10 cm diameter)
- 4 egg whites
- 110g/1 cup icing sugar
- 2 tubes of smarties
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Butter the ramekins.
- Using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff, and then add the sugar.
- Beat again until really super-stiff. This is where the showmanship comes in. You ought to be able to turn the mixing bowl upside down, and the egg whites will not go ‘splat’ onto the floor. Have confidence – it CAN be done!
- Then get your assistants to fold in the cornflour, and the smarties – this needs to be done quickly in order not to lose the air captured in the foam.
- Fill the ramekins. Barham recommends levelling off the soufflé mix with a palette knife. If you do that you will get a perfect, rather angular soufflé like the one in the featured image above. But if you don’t you will get a rather generous, blousy soufflé like these two beauties, below.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Et voilá.
Music to cook to
Breaths, by Sweet Honey in the Rock