Sicily: Deserti

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Bringing our reminiscences to a close, this is the finale to our Sicilian posts. And what better way to end than on a delightfully easy but utterly delicious soufflé? We appreciate that it’s not a technically Italian and that that word sometimes strikes terror into the hearts of the boldest cook but bare with us.

This recipe was inspired by discovering pistachio spread (think Nutella but a white-chocolate pistachio flavoured version) in a local supermarket when we were staying in the villa we had rented. We had originally planned on saving it to make this recipe but ended up eating it with a spoon instead – and we don’t even feel slightly guilty!

This recipe tries to capture the flavours of the desserts we had when we visited that beautiful island and we hope it does them justice. We made this as at Easter and it was a fitting end to our feast but it would also make a lovely dessert for any occasion or just a summer evening. Enjoy and make sure to look out for the recipes from our event with Cactus Kitchens which will be posted shortly!

Pistachio Soufflé

Serves 6 (in medium-sized ramekins)

Ingredients:

20g melted butter

70g ground pistachios

4 tbsps double cream

2 tbsps icing sugar

2 eggs, separated into yolks and whites

1/2 tsp almond essence

20g Caster Sugar, with extra to coat the inside of the ramekins

Extra icing sugar and ground pistachios to serve

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Take your six ramekins and brush the inside with melted butter before scattering with spare caster sugar. Place in the fridge to cool till needed.

To make the pistachio paste add the cream, ground pistachios and icing sugar to a small saucepan and mix over a low heat for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture starts to heat through but not bubble. Add the egg yolks and almond essence to the mixture and mix swiftly – if left too long to heat through or if the saucepan/mixture is too hot you could end up with a sweet, nutty, omeletty-mess. Once combined, set aside to cool.

Take a large mixing bowl, add the egg whites and beat until they are stiff and peaks hold their shape. Once the whites are at this stage, beat in the caster sugar – this helps to maintain the foamy structure and stops the mixture becoming a soup. Once this is done you can begin to add the pistachio paste 1-2 serving spoons at a time, folding it gently into the mix ensuring that the two mixtures are combined. It is important to use a slim metal spoon here, as a wooden spoon will knock all of the air out of the whites you have just worked so hard to fluff up.

When combined, spoon the mixture into the cool ramekins filling them to just below the brim. Place your soufflés in the oven and turn the temperature down to 200C. Bake for 10 minutes. Once they have risen 1-2cm serve as quickly as possible with a light dusting of icing sugar and left over ground pistachio.

Enjoy!

h&h

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