It is apricot season once more on the farm and the trees are laden with luscious orange orbs. Today’s recipe pairs apricots, vanilla and egg whites to create a light and easy dessert to enjoy during the summer months.
1 tablespoon softened butter
1/4 cup sugar (+ extra for sprinkling)
4 medium fresh apricots (approximately 200 grams)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Coat six small ramekins in a little butter and then sprinkle the buttered surface with some sugar. Shaking off any excess.
2. Then pre-heat an oven to 180°C and place the ramekins on a flat baking tray.
3. Fill a small pot with water and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling place the apricots into the water and allow them cook for two minutes, before removing them with a slotted spoon and allowing them to cool (approximately 5 minutes).
4. Once cool, gently remove the outer skin of the apricots, take out the inner seed and chop extra finely.
5. Place the finely minced apricot flesh into a small pot with the sugar and water and return it to the heat. Allow the mixture to cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick or burn.
6. As the fruit compote mixture is cooking you can prepare the egg white base. Place the whites into a dry bowl and beat them until the mixture forms soft white peaks. As soon as the compote mixture has cooked for 10 minutes, remove from heat, add the vanilla extract and pour it gently into the fluffy egg whites (slowly), whilst you beat them together to combine (no more than a minute).
7. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins and bake for 15 minutes.
8. Once the souffles have risen and are lightly golden on top, remove from the oven, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.
Once the souffles are removed from the oven, they will begin to deflate, they are a dessert that must be cooked and serve immediately.
These are known as egg white souffles. They are easier and far less likely to go wrong than traditional custard based souffles. You can make them with a smooth surface or with a peak and trough upper crust. To have flat top souffles, smooth the top with the back of a spoon prior to placing them in the oven.
Instead of vanilla, you could use honey, maple syrup or even amoretto liquor. If using honey or maple syrup add it to the compote mixture whilst it is cooking.
Instead of apricots, you could use peaches or any combination of berries. With fresh peaches do the same as for apricots but with berries, simply chop them finely and place them into the pot to cook for the ten minutes with the sugar and water.
Also, at other times of the year when fresh summer fruits are unavailable, you can always use a good quality fruit jam as the base of fruit compote, just don’t add the sugar element in the recipe and be aware that you may need to blitz it after cooking, to break down any large fruit bits.