Would you look at these beauties that my husband cooked up for us on Saturday night for a mother’s day feast? These passionfruit souffles were as light and fluffy as they looked, and deliciously tangy without being too sweet. With a bit of good vanilla ice-cream on the side, these were a perfect treat dessert.

I’ve never made a souffle before, but I understand that from his own testing and experimentation with the genre my husband has a bit of a bone to pick with our friend Harold McGee, who introduces his several-page explication of the history and science of the dish by proclaiming that “in fact, souffles are reliable and resilient”. In our humble experience, the souffle is neither: it is instead precariously successful and when so, fragile! McGee does, however, provide useful instruction on the correct approach to folding the eggwhite into the flavour base.

We have never managed to discover what will help to keep a well-risen souffle risen for more than the few minutes it takes to get the things onto the table. If any of you have tips on this they would be very welcome. In any case, there is still wonder and amazement when each person receives their own fragrant dessert cloud, curiosity when watching the cloud hiss and steam and start shrinking away from the ramekin sides and, of course, bliss when you eat it.

Passionfruit soufflé
Adapted from a Bill Granger recipe

Melted butter, to brush moulds
6 large passionfuit (about 200mL of passionfruit pulp)
1/2 cup caster sugar, plus extra to dust moulds
2 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tsp cold water
4 egg whites
pinch salt

Vanilla ice-cream, to serve

Brush 6 ramekins (approx 300mL capacity) with melted butter and sprinkle base with the extra caster sugar, tipping out the excess. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

Place passionfruit pulp in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 tbsp of the caster sugar, stirring over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and stir in the cornflour mixture. Remove from heat but continue stirring until well mixed. Set aside to cool completely. (You can do the recipe up to this stage beforehand – for example, before your main meal – and then just continue when you’re ready for dessert.)

Preheat oven to 170C. Beat eggwhites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar until the mixture is thick and glossy. Place the passionfruit base into a large bowl. Fold 1/2 the eggwhites through the passionfruit base, then gently fold through the remainder. Spoon into prepared ramekins. Bake for 12-14 minutes until well risen and starting to colour.

Serve immediately, with vanilla ice-cream if desired.

Yield: 6 ramekins (which in our case were devoured by 4 people)

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