This ambrosial treat is not a traditional soufflé. It is less structured, doesn’t rise as high, and the texture is even lighter.
Back in late 2010, I attended a cooking demonstration in London by the wonderfulMichel Roux Jr. It was one of the most relaxed and entertaining cooking demonstrations ever. Despite coming from a famous restaurant dynasty, Michel Roux is charming and unpretentious, and was happy to share the secrets of making a signature dessert from one of his most famous restaurants, Le Gavroche in London.
Although the recipe calls for blini pans, on the day of the demonstration M. Roux made the soufflé in a large frying pan that could go into the oven. It worked so well I decided to try using something similar at home. He also suggested using free range or organic eggs that are fresh, but not new (ie. eggs that have been laid about two weeks previously). I followed his instructions to the letter and the results were delicious.
In fact, my husband was so impressed, he booked a table for us at Le Gavroche for our anniversary in April 2011. I’m not sure I have ever been excited about going to a restaurant before. The surroundings are just gorgeous, and it was one of the most amazing meals I have ever eaten. Yes, I had the soufflé for dessert! It was wonderful to taste it made professionally. (The one I made was delicious, but this was the real deal.) Sadly, it was too dark to take a photograph, but eating a dessert made in the place it was created is an experience you simply cannot beat.
As we were finishing our meal, Michel Roux came out to speak with us. He was absolutely charming. I told him about my experience making his soufflé, and shared how, having tasted the version he made, there were a couple of things I might do differently – including cooking the soufflé for slightly less time. I had been nervous about raw eggs, but actually this recipe benefits from being lightly cooked. Michel recommends 6 to 8 minutes for blini pans, and having cooked my larger version for nearly 20 minutes, next time I would cook it for closer to 15.
I hope to one day return to Le Gavroche, but in the meantime, I can always make this wonderful Omelette Soufflé Rothschild to remember our visit!
(Please note, you need to start this recipe the day before.)
Omelettes Soufflé Rothschild
Michel Roux, Jr.
1 cup water
¾ cup caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split
20 dried apricots
¼ cup Cointreau
For the omelette soufflé
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
¼ cup caster sugar plus 1 tablespoon
⅓ cup plain flour
2 tablespoons Cointreau
8 egg whites
butter for greasing
double (heavy) cream to serve (optional)
Pour the water into a pan. Add the ¾ cup caster sugar, the vanilla pod and seeds and bring to the boil. Place the apricots in a bowl and pour the syrup over top. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the Cointreau. Cover and leave to soak overnight at room temperature.
The next day, remove 12 of the apricots and a bit of the syrup. Set aside. Purée the remaining apricots in a food processor with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Cointreau to make a light sauce. If it’s too thick, add a little of the syrup from the apricots. Set aside.
For the omelette soufflé, heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until it comes to the boiling point.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with ¼ cup of the sugar until creamy. Add the flour and whisk in. Pour the boiling milk over top of the mixture in the bowl. Mix well, and pour the mixture from the bowl back into the saucepan. Return the mixture to the pan and bring back to the boil, stirring continuously.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the final 2 tablespoons of Cointreau.
Heat 4 blini pans or one large pan (I used my Le Creuset casserole) over medium heat on the stove top.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining 1 tablespoon caster sugar until soft peaks form. Stir half the egg white and sugar mixture gently into the egg yolk mixture, and then lightly fold in the remaining half.
Grease the pan(s) with the butter. Divide the mixture between the blini pans, or pour into one large pan. Put the pan(s) in the oven. Cook individual pans for 6 to 8 minutes, and a large pan for about 15 minutes. The soufflé is done when it is puffy, golden and light but firm.
Reheat the apricots and the apricot sauce. If using blini pans, turn the soufflés out, or carefully serve from a larger pan with a spoon. Serve immediately with the apricots, apricot sauce and a little double cream if you like.