My old friend, Nick "Moussaka" Good, has come up with an excellent take on a traditional soufflé. For some bizarre reason he has an obsession with the scary Fanny Cradock (to those who don't know, she was one of the first British television cooks; competent no doubt, but caked in make-up, and altogether like some psychedelic creature from Planet Nine). Anyway, I'm a fan of the Duke of Windsor- or at least his rather rakish dress sense.
Nick writes: "Last year I decided to become proficient in making soufflés. It’s all about getting the oven hot enough, the sauce right, whipping egg whites to perfect peaks, and bringing it all together at the right time in the right order. There’s nothing vulgar or "chuck it all together" about a soufflé. It takes patience, practice and the acceptance of initial failure or at least disappointment. Also they really don’t rise up quite like they do in films. If however you follow the rules you will succeed and produce something worthy of enjoyment. Carrier and Kerr recipes are fine (Brisbane Bay prawn soufflé is fantastic but a little OTT for the beginner) but there is only one soufflé teacher for the masses: Fanny Cradock.
Follow Fanny’s instructions and you’ll have perfect soufflé, diverge but a half inch (centimetre for those in the Common Market) and you’ll be doomed to a sloppy mess. Such is the way of the soufflé. Fanny suggests various basic recipes to cut your teeth on, but here is her recipe for Haddock Soufflé which is utterly delicious. Being Fanny this is not just any old Haddock Soufflé, but the recipe given to her and Johnnie by the Duke of Windsor when they dined at the Windsor’s Paris house in 1956.
You will need:
½ pint whole milk
¼ pint single cream
½ lb uncooked smoked haddock
1½ oz flour
1½ oz butter
8 egg whites
3 oz grated parmesan
spoonful dry mustard powder
½ egg spoonful nutmeg
Generous grate of black pepper
1 level teaspoonful salt
Teacup of small croutons
Cook the haddock gently in a milk and cream mixture for ten minutes. Remove, cool and flake the fish. Reserve the milk mixture for soufflé. Heat your oven to 225 Degree Celsius (very hot!). Butter an eight inch diameter soufflé mould. Reheat the fishy milk mixture in a small pan over a low heat.
Whip the egg whites with a rotary hand whisk (not an electric whisk or you’ll overdo it) to firm peaks in a very clean large bowl. Dissolve the butter in a second, larger pan. Add the flour to the butter, stir to a soft, pale coloured ball in pan and add a quarter of the warm milk mixture. Wait a moment for the milk to boil, then stir thoroughly. Take it from the heat and beat well. Repeat with the second quarter of the milk and add half the cheese.
After the second beating add the remaining milk, the seasoning and rest of the cheese and, when milk boils again, beat very thoroughly. Take this sauce off the heat and beat out some of the steam for approximately one minute. With a large metal spoon (preferably silver but never wooden) loosely stir in the flaked haddock, the croutons, then the egg whites. Level this off into the soufflé mould with the large metal spoon.
Bake the soufflé for twenty minutes. Never open the oven door to have a peek whilst it’s cooking. Enjoy with a white wine dry enough to cope with the eggy saucy goodness! "