There is no doubt that the idea of making soufflés sounds a bit daunting, even to those who are fairly comfortable in the kitchen. The basis for the soufflé is normally a custard, which can be a little tricky to make. It also includes whipped egg whites, which traditionally means separating the egg whites from the egg yolks very carefully.
HOWEVER, the following recipe for banana-walnut soufflés is as easy and as fool-proof as it gets. It doesn't require making a custard, which means egg yolks are not necessary. A small carton of egg whites will give you what you need without having to break eggs (and you don't have to figure out what to do with the yolks). These are individual soufflés that can hold their shape easier than those with the larger volume from a more traditional soufflé dish.
1. Measure two portions of sugar - three tablespoons each and also measure 2 teaspoons of sugar to dust soufflé dishes.
2. Toast walnuts very carefully on a small saucepan over medium heat.
3. Coat just the bottoms of six soufflé dishes with cooking spray and then sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.
4. Melt margarine/butter in saucepan over medium heat and add flour slowly, stirring constantly to make a smooth roux and cook for 1 minute.
5. Gradually add milk and 3 Tablespoons of sugar, while continuing to stir. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl.
6. Mash and measure banana and combine with walnuts and vanilla and lemon juice and add to milk mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely. (Put dish in ice bath to quicken the process)
7. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3 Tablespoon of sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
8. Gently fold egg white mixture into banana mixture.
9. Spoon evenly into prepared soufflé dishes
10. Place dishes in a 9 x 13 pan and add hot water to the pan to the depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until puffed.
Best if served immediately
An alternative to serving immediately, is stopping at step 9, putting the individual soufflés in the freezer until firm for about 2 hours and then wrapping with aluminum foil and freezing for up to two weeks. When you wish to serve them, continue to step 10, adding five or 10 minutes until puffed.
Tricia Gregory, MA,RD/N
A dietitian who is a foodie and loves a great dinner party with wonderful food and terrific friends.