A delicious and very pretty little number. Wrapping greaseproof paper round the ramekins and overfilling them is an easy technique to make it appear that the soufflés have risen above the rim of the dish – you simply peel off the paper once the mousse has set.
For the Italian meringue:
Put the egg whites in a freestanding electric mixer and set aside.
Put the sugar and water into a small pan.
Insert a sugar thermometer and place over a low heat until the sugar has melted.
When the sugar starts to crystallise, use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush the sides of the pan and stop the mixture from crystallising.
When the sugar has melted, boil for 5 minutes, until the temperature reaches 110°C.
Meanwhile, turn on the mixer and whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.
By the time they are ready, the sugar temperature should have reached 120°C. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Carefully pour the sugar syrup in a steady stream into the egg whites, whisking constantly for about 10 minutes, until the mixture starts to cool.
Set aside until needed.
For the soufflé:
Soak the gelatine in a little water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, take 6 small ramekins and tie or tape some greaseproof paper around the outside of each one, ensuring it stands 5cm above the rim.
Take one-third of the purée, heat gently to a simmer, then take off the heat. Squeeze the gelatine dry and add it to the purée, stirring until it has dissolved. Stir in the butter until melted, then add the remaining purée. Set aside.
Whisk the meringue into the purée. Lightly whip the cream until just holding its shape, then fold it into the purée. Fill the prepared ramekins so that the mixture comes 1cm below the top of the greaseproof collar. Chill for 4 hours and carefully peel off the paper before serving.
This is a very easy tart to put together - and to make it even easier you could use ready made sweet pastry. Strawberries, lavender and lemon are fresh and fragrant tart toppings and make a perfect early summer combo.