Iced Apple Soufflé with Caramelised Apple
I first tasted this amazingly good dessert at a meal cooked by a friend, Lesley Nathan, in the summer, when she made it with strawberries. This is her recipe, adapted for winter with apples, and every bit as wonderful.
First wash the Granny Smith apples and, leaving the skins on, core and chop them roughly. After that place them in a saucepan with the cider, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. Now bring it all up to the boil and simmer gently until the apples are mushy, which will take about 15-20 minutes.
Then remove them from the heat and allow them to cool slightly before passing them through a fine nylon sieve, pushing the purée through with a ladle. Now discard the skins left in the sieve and leave the apple purée to get completely cold.
Meanwhile prepare the ramekins.
First make collars for each of them: cut 6 pieces of parchment measuring 7 x 12 inches (18 x 30 cm), fold each in half along its length to 3½ x 12 inches (9 x 30 cm) then fold one of the long edges over 1 inch (2.5 cm), giving you a thicker piece at the base to stabilise the collar.
You will now have collars measuring 2½ x 12 inches (6 x 30 cm). so wrap each collar around the ramekins, keeping the fold to the base and hold them in place with a rubber band.
When the purée is completely cold, remove the crème fraîche from the refrigerator, transfer it to a bowl and whip until it starts to thicken – but be careful not to let it get too stiff.
Next put the egg whites in a large bowl and, using an electric hand-whisk with squeaky-clean beaters, whisk to the stiff-peak stage. Then fold a third of the egg whites into the apple purée along with the crème fraîche, and when everything is completely amalgamated, very gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
Pour the whole lot into a large jug and then into the collared ramekins. The mixture will come right up to the top of the collars. Now stand the ramekins on a tray and freeze for 4-6 hours, making sure they are standing level.
To make the caramelised apple slices, cut the apple into quarters and remove the core, then cut these into slices 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. You will need 30 thin slices.
Next take a large, solid frying pan, 8-9 inches (20-23 cm) in diameter. Melt half the butter. When it starts to foam, sprinkle in half the sugar.
Stir it around, keeping the heat high, add the apple slices and cook them 30-40 seconds on each side until golden brown and slightly crisp. You will need to do this in 2 batches.
Lay the first lot on baking parchment, then add the remaining butter and sugar, if necessary, and cook the rest.
These can be made up to 2 hours in advance. Take the ramekins out of the freezer and transfer to the fridge 20 minutes before serving.
Then just peel away the collars, having removed the rubber bands.
Finally arrange the apple slices in circles on top before serving.