I am officially full of Christmas spirit! I'm not a massively materialistic person. I can take or leave all the shopping and giving of presents that are never used again BUT I love Christmas food, decorations and songs. Anyone else get goosebumps and well up a little when they hear Mariah Carey sing 'All I Want For Christmas...'? No? Just me? I love all the family time and sweet traditions that comes with the silly season too. Yes, I'll also be watching Love Actually at least once (while my partner loudly protests - sorry Luke!)
I'm excited to partner up with the fine folks at Otaika Valley free range eggs to bring you this delicious Christmas dessert. It's incredibly rich and decadent (though gluten free) with a gorgeous pile of cherries hiding in the bottom of each one. Souffles feel pretty fancy but are actually rather simple. They do need to find their way to the table fairly promptly after leaving the oven though as they loose their puff quickly. I've had good luck with gently re-heating in the oven. A little of that height returns. I rather like the look of a deflated soufle though. I realise that's not what the perfect soufflé is supposed to look like but the perfectly imperfect cracks that appear as they cool are quite lovely.
These have an exquisite crust and a luscious centre. Serve with plenty or cream or ice cream.
Make sure you choose free range eggs this holiday season - it's a kinder choice. Otaika Valley have lovely farms and a very high standard of living for their chooks. Find out more about that HERE. All the packaging is biodegradable and they use environmentally friendly inks. The limited edition Christmas packaging shown in my pictures is available in supermarkets now.
As an aside for my lovely readers, I promise I'm really fussy about who I do collabs and blog posts with. I'll only ever chat about products I truly love and use. Otaika Valley has been in my kitchen for ages. They are the only supermarket eggs that I'll buy.
Enjoy this time of year! Don't let it drive you mad. Grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and listen to a little Mariah. Kelly x
Dark chocolate & cherry soufflés
180g dark chocolate (I used Whittakers 62% Dark Cacao) - broken into pieces
1/2 cup fresh cream
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla essence
3 Otaika Valley free range egg yolks
4 Otaika Valley free range egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 x 400g can pitted black cherries in syrup - drained (You'll use 20-24 cherries)
To serve: Powdered coconut sugar*
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
Grease 6 x 3/4 cup capacity soufflé ramekins
Melt the chocolate gently in a double boiler. Whisk in the cream and vanilla essence. Check to ensure the mixture is cool and add the egg yolks. Whisk until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean bowl. Using an electric beater on a medium-high speed, whip until you have soft peaks. Add the coconut sugar in four stages (with 5 seconds between each addition) and beat until you have stiff, glossy peaks.
Add the egg whites to the chocolate batter in two stages, using a wide spatula to fold and combine. Pull the chocolate component from the bottom of the saucepan, bring it to the top and fold over. This will ensure a speedy combining of the two elements.
Place 3-4 cherries in the bottom of each ramekin.
Spoon the soufflé batter into each dish, leaving a 1cm gap at the top to allow for rising. Bake for 20 minutes. Do not open the oven before this. If you've used a larger vessel, you may need to cook for a further 5 minutes.
Serve immediately with fresh cream or ice cream on the side. The soufflé will deflate after a few minutes out of the oven. This is normal.
Leftover soufflés can be gently reheated in the oven.
*I blitz a 1/2 cup of coconut sugar in my vitamix to achieve a fine powder.
Tips for achieving perfect egg whites
- Use a perfectly clean bowl and egg beaters - I wash my equipment in hot soapy water one hour before I need it and leave to air dry. Wiping your bowl with lemon juice or vinegar is another way to get rid of any oily residue that will ruin your meringue.
- Only use a glass, metal or ceramic bowl - plastic bowls have an oily residue that is pretty much impossible to get off entirely.
- Room temperature eggs - I get consistent results when I make sure my eggs are room temperature. I can't explain why this is - it just always works! I keep my eggs in a basket on the kitchen bench in winter but store them in the fridge during the warm months. I take the eggs I need from the fridge a few hours prior
- Start beating on a lower speed and slowly work up to your desired speed - ease the egg whites into the whipping process
- Make sure the eggs are free range! - This won't actually make your egg whites any better but it is definitely good for your conscience. Who wants to use yukky caged eggs right?