Monday, October 31, 2011

Custard Apple Soufflé...Worth the Sweat!

Mark Twain called it "the most delicious fruit known to men". The Custard Apple, also known as, Cherimoya in the Andes is a fruit that is often mistaken as an artichoke because of its scaled green skin. Many 'Tweeple', have guessed correctly about the fruit, giving it numerous names used in their culture, and others thought it was Durian fruit! As you can see, this exotic fruit is not yet well known to everyone, but it remains one that continues to be discovered because of its sweet and delectable taste. It's great in drinks, gelatos and cakes. They can be purchased at any local Asian grocery store or any fruit and vegetable market. I haven't seen them in regular supermarkets. You can ask for custard apples, sugar apples or Cherimoyas. They are seasonal and available between the Fall and early Winter.

The fruit is fleshy and soft, sweet, white in color, with a sherbet-like texture, which gives it its secondary name, custard apple. Some characterize the flavor as a blend of banana, pineapple, papaya, peach, and strawberry. I would compare it more closely to a very ripe pear with a creamy texture.

I also enjoy eating it on its own with a spoon.

For the pleasure of it, I made these fabulous soufflés and this time they turned out really phenomenal! Since the custard apples have a similar texture as that of a very ripe pear, I lined the ramequins with grated chocolated. Divine....
The house smelled heavenly as these little gems were baking and rising in the oven.

And here they are again, hangin' in there but still standin' after 2 full minutes!!

Preparation : 30 minutes (45 minutes first time around), Cooking time : 15-20 minutesRecipe « au pif » (GR recipe with a twist) :
1 Custard apple
1 ripe banana (peeled and cut in huge pieces)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
150 ml milk
100 ml cream
3 fresh eggs (separate yolk from egg white – put aside)
3 tbps granulated sugar (1/2 the amount if using raw cane sugar)
1 tbsp flour
½ tbsp corn starch

Preheat oven at 370F

Making the custard :Heat sauce pan on medium-high and pour in the milk and cream. Wait about 2-3 minutes for the milk and cream to boil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk vigorously 3 egg yolks and the sugar until you’ve reached a smooth mixture.

Whisk in the flour and corn starch into the egg and sugar mix. This is to thicken the pastry cream, giving it body.

Take the hot milk and cream and add only a splash into the egg mixture (so as not to cook the eggs). Whisk vigorously until you reach a nice and smooth texture. Then, add the rest of milk and cream mixture and continue whisking for about 30 seconds. Put the pan back on the heat and pour the egg and milk/cream mixture to the pan to cook it out. Whisk vigorously, making sure you get all the corners in the pan so that your custard doesn’t become lumpy. You should obtain a nice, thick and creamy custard.

Soufflé filling:

Cut the apple custard in half and scoop out all the flesh, seeds and juices, putting them into a sieve to get all the juice off the seed.

Blend the apple custard, banana and squeeze of lemon juice.

Add in the apple custard/banana mix to the pastry cream and mix until well incorporated.

The nice thing about this soufflé recipe is that the flavoured custard can be prepared and refrigerated 2-3 days before preparing the final mix and baking it for yourself or your guests.

Preparing the ramequins (4 large or 6 small):

* important tip : make sure that your soufflé does not stick to the ramequins so as to allow it to rise evenly, nice and high*
Grease the ramequins with softened butter with a pastry brush.
Line the ramequins with either sugar or granulated chocolate.

Refrigerate the greased and lined ramequins in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes so as to let the butter solidify and set.

In a mixing bowl, add a drop of lemon juice to the egg white and whisk with electric mixer.
Add ½ the amount of sugar, then gradually add the rest of the sugar to the egg white until you reached a meringue texture.

Add 1/3 of the meringue to the pastry cream and whisk vigorously for a few seconds to remove any lumps.
Add the remaining 2/3 of the meringue to the pastry cream and gently fold the meringue and evenly mix the meringue until you’ve reached a silky and smooth texture.

*Important tips for filling the ramequins successfully*

Fill the ramequins only half-full with a ladle. Bang the ramequins on a kitchen cloth (folded in four), on the counter, so that the mixture hits the bottom of the ramequins and the soufflé mixture hits all the corners of the ramequins. This will allow the soufflé to rise evenly. Repeat with all ramequins.

Now fill all ramequins right at the very top with the remaining mixture. Remove any excess of the mixture with a knife and wiping it off with one clean sweep so that you have a nice even and straigh top.

Create a little ridge. Run the tip of your thumb around the edges of the ramequin. Repat with all ramequins. The ridge stops the soufflé from hanging over the side as it starts to rise.

Pop the ramequins into the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Watch them rise!

After 15-20 minutes, your soufflés must have ‘love handles’ which is a sign of a perfect soufflé.

Sprinkle a little bit of icing sugar over the soufflés. Soufflés won’t stay up very long, so serve them immediately, nice and warm.

Serves 6.

Share and enjoy!


FMS said...

They look sow delicious! Where can we find these fruits?I'm assuming they're seasonal.

QlinArt said...

Thanks FMS! I just added in the post where you can find custard apples... Basically local Asian grocery stores, even Arabic grocery stores. I find them in my local fruit and vegetable market. And yes they are seasonal. Mostly between fall and winter. Hope you like it!

Christine knapkins_com said...

I see you used your secret ingredient!! Yeah for Custard Apples :)

QlinArt said...