"Finish off a special dinner with this frozen dessert. It's made with softened dried apricots, and there is no last-minute preparation." ~ Gabriel Gate.
Frozen Apricot Souffle:
18 dried apricots
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 quantity Crème Patissière (below)
185 ml (6 fl oz/. cup) cream, whipped until firm
4 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
55 g (2 oz/. cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 quantity Hazelnut Praline (below)
Crème Patissière (makes 625 ml):
"This pastry custard is used in tarts, is delicious with fruit and is often used to make soufflés. You can make it lighter by adding a little whipped cream to the cold custard." ~ Gabriel Gate.
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) milk
1/2 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
4 egg yolks
100 g (3 1/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
50 g (2 oz/ 1/3 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
"These fabulous caramelised hazelnuts are delicious served with ice cream or sprinkled on fruity desserts." ~ Gabriel Gate.
55 g (2 oz/ 1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
2 drops red wine vinegar
150 g (5 oz) roasted skinned hazelnuts
Combine the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and whisk well so the vanilla seeds flavour the milk.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl for 2 minutes. Whisk in the sifted flour.
Remove the vanilla pod from the milk.
Pour the hot milk onto the egg-yolk mixture, whisking well.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. When the mixture is just boiling and has thickened, transfer to a heatproof bowl. Whisk for a few seconds more, then set aside to cool before storing in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Lightly oil a sheet of baking paper and place on a baking tray.
Combine the sugar, vinegar and 2 1/2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the sugar starts to caramelise.
Make sure it doesn’t burn.
Add the hazelnuts and, using a wooden spoon, stir over low heat for 2 minutes or until the hazelnuts are well coated with the caramel.
Very carefully transfer the caramelised hazelnuts onto the oiled baking paper and spread the nuts using a wooden spoon (don’t touch the mixture as it will be very hot). Set aside to cool completely, then store in an airtight container until required. You can break it into pieces for easier storage if you wish.
Make the praline by cutting the caramelised hazelnuts into small pieces using a large knife or blender.
Frozen Apricot Souffle:
Fit six individual soufflé moulds with baking paper collars, extending about 3 cm (1 in) above the rims of the moulds. Use string to hold the collars in place.
Place the dried apricots in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain the apricots and blend in a food processor to a fine purée.
Set the purée over a bowl of ice to cool.
Combine the apricot purée with the lemon juice and crème patissière, then gently stir in the whipped cream.
Using electric beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until slightly stiff. Add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the apricot cream.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag without a nozzle.
Spoon a third of the hazelnut praline into the bottom of the soufflé moulds. Pipe half of the apricot mixture on top, then add another third of the praline. Fill with the remaining apricot mixture to about 2 cm above the rim.
Place the soufflés in the freezer to set for about 6 hours.
Sprinkle the remaining praline on top of the frozen soufflés, carefully remove the paper collars and serve immediately.
Credits: This is an edited extract from So French So Sweet by Gabriel Gaté published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $29.99 and is available in stores nationally.
Photo Credits: Photographer: © Mark Roper.