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Soufflé Monte Cristo

Ingredients

3 eggs (separated)
2½ oz granulated sugar
½ vanilla pod (split)
¾ pint milk
2-3 drops of vanilla essence (optional)
½ oz gelatine
2½ fl oz water
7½ fl oz double cream (lightly whipped)
Chocolate caraque (made from 2 oz plain block chocolate)
5 almond macaroons
Little brandy, or rum, or liqueur (such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
¼ pint double cream (more if liked) - for decoration

6-inch diameter top (No. 2 size) soufflé dish ; ½ lb jam jar


Method

Prepare the soufflé dish ; lightly oil the jam jar and put it in the centre of the soufflé dish. Put the egg yolks into a basin and beat with the sugar until light and fluffy, while infusing vanilla pod in the milk in a pan. When at scalding point, remove pod and pour the milk on to the yolk mixture. Return to the pan and stir over gentle heat until the custard thickens creamily and will coat the back of the spoon. Strain and cool. If necessary, add 2-3 drops of vanilla essence to strengthen the flavour.


Soak and dissolve the gelatine in the water and add to the custard. Turn the mixture into a thin pan and stand this on ice, or in iced water, and stir with a metal spoon until the mixture is thickening. Then remove from the ice and fold in the lightly whipped cream and, finally, the stiffly whisked egg whites. Pour the soufflé mixture quickly into the dish, layering it with choco­late caraque, keeping some in reserve for decoration. Leave in a cool place, or in the refrige­rator, to set.


Watchpoint: A lump or two of ice put into the jam jar will help the soufflé to set more quickly if you are pressed for time.


Meanwhile break up the maca­roons and sprinkle them well with the chosen liqueur. When ready to serve, gently twist the jam jar and lift it out carefully. Immediately fill the cavity with the macaroons. Peel away paper, pipe the extra whipped cream round the edge and decorate with chocolate caraque.

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