I’ll admit that I had absolutely no idea what a cob nut looked or tasted like prior to this.
I’m delighted to announce that they are delicious. You’ll most likely have to source them at a seasonal fruit & veg spot, but this applies to the damsons too, so why not kill two birds with one cob nut.
In this damson soufflé with cob nut & crème fraîche ice cream recipe, there is a fair amount of preparation, especially when infusing the ice cream. However, all of that can be done days or even weeks in advance. So no real pressure.
The soufflés can also be prepared a few hours ahead, allowing you to cook and deploy at will.
Shopping list (serves 6)
Damsons x 600g
Egg whites x 6
Caster sugar x 150g
Caster sugar for coating
Icing sugar for dusting
Cob nut ice cream:
Cob nuts (leaves removed) x 100g
Crème fraîche x 300g
Double cream x 300g
Sweetened condensed milk x 400g
Start by roasting the cob nuts in a hot oven at 220°C (fan)/240°C for 45 minutes. Place them into a bowl and cover with boiled water. Leave for at least eight hours, before using a hand blender to blitz the nuts roughly.
Reduce the remaining water over a high heat until you have just 100ml remaining.
Add this water and the blitzed nuts to the crème fraîche, condensed milk and cream in a saucepan. Bring this mixture gently to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, before leaving to infuse overnight in your fridge.
The next day, simply strain this mixture into a large mixing bowl and use an electric whisk to beat the mixture on a high speed for at 10 minutes until thickened. Freeze in a loaf tin for at least eight hours.
For the soufflés you’ll need six ramekins, typically 28g/10oz in size.
Brush the base with softened butter, and then use upwards brush strokes to coat the sides as well. Leave to chill in the fridge before repeating, coating with caster sugar, and chilling until needed. Knock out any excess sugar once evenly coated.
Add the damsons and 100g of the sugar into a pan over a medium heat, along with just two tablespoons of boiled water. Simmer gently for 10 minutes until you have a smooth and glistening red mixture. Use a hand blender to blitz this mixture into a lumpy purée.
Remove from the heat and pass all of the mixture through a fine sieve into a large mixing bowl, until you have around 350g of smooth purée. This will take a bit of time and a touch of elbow grease, but even if it requires multiple breaks to sip on something cold and refreshing, then that’s not so terrible is it?!
Allow the purée to cool completely. Set your oven to 170°C (fan)/190°C
Whisk the egg whites, gradually adding the remaining 50g of sugar until you have stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the damson purée until completely incorporated.
Use a palette knife to fill each ramekin dish up, taking your time to use upwards strokes again, in gradually filling the sides first before finally filling the middle, and levelling off the top evenly. Chill for a few hours before cooking, if necessary.
Bake the soufflés for 12 minutes on a baking tray.
Serve immediately, dusted with icing sugar, and topped with a healthy dollop of cob nut ice cream.