Any passing rabbit will tell you that Easter is all about chocolate, so here’s a recipe…
…that doesn’t have any in it. Wait, there’s method to this apparent madness. At Easter, whether you’re entertaining or cooking for the family, there’ll doubtless be enough chocolate kicking around the house that when it comes to whipping up dessert, the last thing anyone wants is more of the sticky stuff. That’s why we’ve picked a pud without a whiff of cacao about it – a light fruity soufflé that’s just show-offy enough for a special-occasion menu.
This recipe comes from the kitchens of Eckington Manor in rural Worcestershire – stomping ground of Masterchef: The Professionals winner Mark Stinchcombe – and is a favourite of the Sunday lunch menu in the restaurant. It may not involve chocolate, but it does feature two ingredients with strong Easter connections. Eggs are the obvious choice, of course, but oranges also have long-standing associations with the festival – not least because they were given to children as a treat long before chocolate eggs rolled onto the scene. In Morpeth, for example, town officials have been handing out oranges to local children every Easter for the last 250 years, and in Hungerford, the annual ‘Hocktide’ celebrations see men of the town exchanging oranges for kisses. In a sense then, this soufflé is arguably more Easter-appropriate than chocolate…
For the orange base:
• 500g orange juice
• Zest of 2 oranges
•1 tbsp orange marmalade
• 20g cornflour
For the soufflé:
• 120g egg whites (approx 3 large eggs)
• 50g caster sugar, plus extra to line ramekins
• 110g orange base
• Soft butter
• Icing sugar, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 2.
To make the orange base, add the orange juice, marmalade and zest to a saucepan, place on the heat and reduce by half.
Dissolve the cornflour in a little cold water to form a smooth paste. Bring the orange juice back to the boil then add the cornflour. Mix and simmer for a few minutes until thick. Pass through a sieve and cool.
To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until stiff, while gradually adding the sugar. Mix ⅓ of the meringue into the orange base and then fold in another ⅓, followed by the remaining meringue.
Generously line the ramekins with butter twice then coat with a dusting of caster sugar. Fill the ramekins with the mix, flatten the top with a pallet knife and run your thumb around the edge to remove any excess. (You can make it up to this point a few hours before serving – just pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.)
Bake for 8–9 minutes or until risen. Dust the top of the soufflé with icing sugar and serve.