Pistachio Soufflé {Pierre Koffmann’s Signature Dessert}

 

Pistachio soufflé with pistachio ice cream

 

Pistachio Soufflé on a Spoon

Sometime ago in the 1990’s there was a fabulous restaurant at the Inter-Continental hotel in London called Le Soufflé. Light fluffy ramekins bursting with bubbly flavor were a genuine delight! Sadly, Le Soufflé no longer exits. Yet my appetite for these egg-white, flavored custard pots remains just the same. Fortunately, Pierre Koffmann resurfaced from semi-retirement to open up his restaurant Koffmann’s at London’s Berkeley Hotel, following the closure of La Tante Claire (where he also made this sumptuous soufflé). By far his most popular dish has to be his pistachio soufflé. And seeing as we no longer live in the UK with the possibility of savoring this most delicious dessert, I must resort to making my own. I think it’s important to demystify soufflé-making. Ultimately, it’s made up of a flavored custard combined with beaten egg whites. The heavier the flavored custard is, the harder the egg whites have to work to help it rise. The lighter the custard, the lighter the soufflé.

PISTACHIO SOUFFLÉ {A signature dessert by Pierre Koffmann}

  • Time: 1½ hours
  • Difficulty: Tricky
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I have kept the ingredients measured in grams and ml for the sake of precision. Most electronic scales nowadays show measurements in imperial and metric.

Makes 6 small or 4 large soufflés

Ingredients:
500ml milk
120g egg yolks (about 7 large eggs or 8 smaller eggs)
75g caster sugar
50g flour, sieved
80g pistachio paste (purchased or make your own, recipe at bottom. I made my own for this recipe)
25g softened butter
30g grated dark chocolate
360g of egg whites
120g caster sugar

Instructions:
Bring the milk to the boil
Simultaneously whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar, flour and pistachio paste until smooth
Add half of the milk to the base and whisk until there are no lumps
Return the mixture to the pan with the remaining milk
Bring slowly to the boil whilst stirring with a whisk
Continue to stir for at least 8 minutes until the taste of the flour is cooked out
This should create about 600g of pistachio pastry cream
Pour the pastry cream into a shallow dish, cover with cling film making sure it touches the pastry cream and chill
Butter the soufflé moulds
Put the grated chocolate inside the moulds and rotate so that it completely covers the inside.
Beat the egg whites until firm, then add the caster sugar and whisk until stiff
Warm the pistachio pastry cream slowly over a bain-marie or very very slow simmer
Add a small quantity of the whites to the pistachio mix to soften it then fold in the rest of the egg whites and pour into the soufflé dishes
Bake at 375°F for 16 minutes on one shelf below the middle
Dust the top with icing sugar and serve
Optional: add a spoon of pistachio ice cream to the top center

© 2014-2015 Caroline’s Family Kitchen and CarolinesFamilyKitchen.com

Notes on soufflé making:
The bowl needs to be stainless or copper. Don’t even glance at your plastic bowls for beating egg whites.
The bowl must be very clean without a any great at all or your egg whites won’t rise.
Don’t get yolk into the egg whites.
Whip them on low speed until they get foamy.
Turn up the speed and add your sugar now if you are doing a sweet souffle.
Once the egg whites begin to get fluffy, they change into stiff whites very quickly, so stay right there and watch them. When they hold a firm shape, you are ready.
You need them to be glossy and have soft peaks. Dull? you’ve whipped them too long. A good test is to place a clean egg on the whites. If it sinks, fish it out, clean it and beat some more. The egg whites should come half way up the egg and no more than that.
It is better to have some white streaks than to over-fold the egg whites. You don’t want to flatten the bubbles too much.
You can make the batter up to a day in advance.
The last tip is to butter your molds and coat them with sugar or cocoa for sweet, or cheese for savory.
By buttering your mold and coating with either of these things, you give the souffle something to cling to as it rises, so this is an important step.
Cook for the correct amount of time and do not open that door to check it for the first ¾ of cooking time!
All souffles fall as they cool. Every single one of them. The trick is to serve it quickly yet smoothly.
If you like over-flowing oozing soufflés, then fill the ramekin almost to the top and surround it with an outer wall of parchment tied with kitchen twine. Like this:

For a tall soufflé

 

PISTACHIO PASTE

  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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The word “paste“, in pastry, usually refers to thoroughly mixed/ground nuts or sugar coated nuts (e.g. praliné): grinding for a relatively long time, makes the dried fruits become oily and reduces them first into crumbs, then a powder, then into a thick paste.

Pistachio Paste Recipe Ingredients:
100g of shelled unsalted pistachios
25g of almond flour
50g of sugar
1.4 cl of water
2 drops of almond extract

Pistachio Paste Recipe Instructions:
Place the pistachios on a paper lined pan, toast them for 15 minutes at 150°C then let them cool down
Leave the sugar and the water in a saucepan on medium heat
When the sugar syrup reaches 121°C, throw in the pistachios and stir for a few seconds
The pistachios will crystallize. This is normal.
When they are covered in sugar and almost no syrup is left in the saucepan, remove them and scatter them on parchment paper to cool down slightly
Place the pistachios, almond flour and almond extract in a food processor
Blend for about 2 minutes until you obtain a fine mixture
Some recipes call for adding oil at this stage but I have never found it necessary

Here is the original recipe: http://www.the-berkeley.co.uk/knightsbridge-restaurants/koffmanns/recipes/pistachio-souffle/

© 2014-2015 Caroline’s Family Kitchen and CarolinesFamilyKitchen.com

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    samuel
    03/13/2015

    super excellent merci caroline!! actually le souffle a la pistache was in Kaufman restaurant on royal hospital rd in the 90 before ramsay took over then pierre move to the berkeley hotel with la tante claire his restaurant’s name until it closed in december 2001. now kaufam has opened a brasserie called kaufman’s quite ironically in the berkeley hotel (it is marcus wareing now who occupies kaufamn’s former place). the souffle is still served at kaufmann and it is very good but the brasserie is not worth much in terms of cuisine despite kaufmann being there at lunch time but the juice is gone! thx for the recipe!!

    • Leave a Reply

      Caroline
      03/13/2015

      Absolutely correct! I didn’t express myself properly. Go figure! lol I meant that since Le Soufflé (nothing to do with PK) I have been left with a taste for .. well, soufflés. And thank goodness Mr Koffmann is back in business making his signature soufflé …though the closure of La Tante Claire was/is a huge loss! I have fond memories of dinners both there and at Koffman’s. You are lucky to have access to so many great restaurants … Love MW!

  2. Leave a Reply

    Helena Angelina
    03/13/2015

    Wow – that looks like heaven, Caroline! I have souffle’s on the brain at the mo, but I hadn’t thought of doing a nutty souffle, that’s cooool. And thanks for popping into LCL – it took me til later to realise that it was you!

    • Leave a Reply

      Caroline
      03/13/2015

      Thanks Helena! Love your blog! Actually, a cheese soufflé is relatively low-carb, isn’t it? I haven’t made one in years! They’re not that difficult to make …. much harder to photograph as by the time you get it set and ready to shoot, darned thing deflates! :-/ lol!

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