From this point forward, when you hear the word souffle, there shall be no grimacing or rolling of the eyes.
From this point forward, when you hear the word souffle, you will imagine a summer sky dotted with soft, puffy clouds---clouds shifting gently in the wind, being warmed by the heat of the sun. No thoughts as to what shape they will become, no fear of falling, these clouds are merely happy to be.
When you imagine a souffle like this---malleable, hapless, whimsical---all fear and hesitation will be dispelled. When you imagine a souffle like this, you will readily gather your ingredients at hand. Delicate, fine and simplistic in their beauty, you will understand: a souffle is the dessert of gods.
If you've never made a souffle, yes: they will rise in the oven and fall shortly after being removed, but a well cooked souffle will fall gradually, gently and almost imperceptibly. If you've never made a souffle, impeccable timing is a must, as they are meant to be served immediately. And if you've never eaten a souffle, you have no idea the delicacy that awaits you.
Warm Banana Souffle
Recipe adapted from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts, circa 1991.
- These souffles stayed puffed for about 5 minutes after being removed from the oven. They did fall to some degree while staging & shooting them. Expect your souffles, if making this recipe, to appear puffier when fresh from the oven.
- The following ingredients may be doubled or tripled (in proper ratios) if preparing Warm Banana Souffle for a crowd.
Yield: 2-3 individual servings
- 2-3 ramekins (reserving the 3rd ramekin for overflow)
- non-stick cooking spray
- 1 large, ripe banana
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 & 1/2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar (plus more for dusting)
You will also need:
- 2 mixing bowls
- 1 fork
- an electric mixer
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Set racks: you'll be baking these in the lower 1/3 of your oven.
In a medium-sized bowl, mash 1 large, ripe banana with a fork. Add 1 & 1/2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime (or lemon) juice and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; blend thoroughly and set aside. In a clean, chilled bowl using an electric mixer, whip 2 chilled egg whites to a soft peak stage. Gradually add 1 & 1/2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar and continue whipping egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Working in thirds, gently fold the stiffly beaten egg whites into the mashed banana until combined. Spoon souffle mixture into ramekins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, dividing mixture evenly. While some recipes suggest filling the ramekins just short of the top, I suggest filling the ramekins right to the top. Set filled ramekins on a cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan) lined with parchment paper for easy clean-up, and place in lower third of a preheated 450 degree F oven with upper rack removed (which gives souffles room to rise). Turn on the oven's interior light and keep a close eye on your souffles. Resist the temptation to open the door during baking (to do so would risk the souffles falling prematurely). Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes. Trust your instincts and judge doneness by rise and top browning evenly, in addition to baking time.
While a bit unethical, if you feel your souffles are browning too fast or beginning to burn, turn the heat down to 425 or even 400 degrees F. Crack the oven door ever-so-slightly if you must, but only during the final minutes of baking. Allowing a rush of cool air in before the souffles are properly set can contribute to premature falling. Only a few minutes of baking time determine a souffle being set to perfection, underdone or over baked. Gently cooked with a light, almost creamy center, a baked Warm Banana Souffle should be delicate, moist and airy.
When souffles are properly cooked, remove from oven and dust with confectioner's sugar. Using a non-slip hot pad or thick, textured kitchen towel, remove ramekins to individual plates and serve immediately. Warm Banana Souffle is an absolute perfect ending to breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. There is simply no wrong time to serve this luscious dessert.
Interested in learning more? I suggest this article, one of the best I've seen on honing your souffle making skills.