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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Souffles: Rise to the occasion

A meal is almost never complete without dessert.
The Straits Times - April 9, 2013
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Souffles: Rise to the occasion

A meal is almost never complete without dessert.

And one classic, French-style dessert that has been making a comeback of late is the ever light and fluffy souffle.

Delicate and airy, it is made with egg whites that have been beaten into a meringue.

Eating a souffle is like sinking teeth into clouds.

Restaurants that offer it on their menus include steakhouses such as Morton's The Steakhouse at Mandarin Oriental Singapore and Wooloomooloo at Swissotel The Stamford, and French bistros such as Bistro du Vin with outlets at Shaw Centre and in Zion Road.

One of the latest restaurants to add a new souffle to its dessert menu is celebrity chef Daniel Boulud's db Bistro Moderne at Marina Bay Sands.

It introduced an exotic durian souffle served with a mangosteen sorbet last month. The restaurant now sells about 20 to 30 of these souffles every day.

Souffles usually come served in ramekins or little copper pots. Popular flavours include Grand Marnier (an orange liqueur), chocolate, passionfruit and raspberry.

These days, the flavours also extend to green tea, chestnut and hazelnut. The possibilities, chefs say, are endless.

The dessert, however, is not for the impatient - it usually takes about 20 minutes for the kitchen to whip it up. It has to be made to order to ensure the souffle remains fluffy.

A derivative of the French word souffler, which means to puff up, a perfectly baked souffle should have a luscious crust fully risen well above the lip of the ramekin.

db Bistro Moderne's executive pastry chef Benjamin Siwek, 27, says: "An amazing souffle should have a very light texture, but be very pronounced in the flavour of whatever base ingredient you choose to use.

"The ingredient should shine through, expressed in the luxurious texture that only a souffle can provide. It should be tall and proud, cooked to its exact peak and served immediately."

Aside from sweet souffle, some restaurants also serve savoury ones that includes those prepared with cheese. These may also include other ingredients such as black truffle and foie gras.

Popular in Europe, cheese souffles are often made with cheeses such as gruyere, cheddar and parmesan, and usually include a hint of spice such as star anise, nutmeg and clove.

Here, cheese souffles are available at restaurants such as Stellar and One Rochester, and cafes including Hoshino. Mr Christopher Millar, 46, executive chef of the One Rochester group, which is behind One Rochester and Stellar, serves a twice-baked gruyere souffle at these two restaurants.

He says a cheese souffle ought to be "crispy on the outside, and soft and creamy in the middle - light but sinful." He adds: "It is the ultimate comfort food with a touch of class."

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