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    Hot chocolate souffles with marsala prunes

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    Hot chocolate souffles with marsala prunes

    These melt-in-the-mouth puds make a sophisticated finale to your Christmas meal. They can (and should) be part or fully prepared in advance then baked once you’ve finished your main course. Serve with a jug of cold double cream. You will need 6 x 200ml or 8 x 150ml straight-sided ramekins.

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus overnight soaking and chilling
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour, plus overnight soaking and chilling

    Makes: 6 large or 8 small

    Ingredients

    150g soft pitted Agen prunes
    3 tbsp marsala
    130g caster sugar, plus extra to dust
    4 eggs, separated
    25g cornflour
    500ml whole milk
    125g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
    25g unsalted butter, melted
    gold stardust or icing sugar, to decorate

    Method

    1. Prepare the prunes and soufflé base the day before. Cut the prunes into small pieces and mix well in a small bowl with the marsala. Cover and leave overnight (at least 6 hours).

    2. For the base, tip 100g caster sugar into a bowl, add the egg yolks, cornflour and a pinch of salt; whisk until smooth and slightly paler in colour (about 1-2 minutes). Heat the milk in a pan until just before boiling point. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Return to the pan and cook over a low-medium heat, whisking constantly until the custard just boils, thickens and becomes silky smooth. Scoop into a bowl, add the chopped chocolate and mix until smooth. Cover the surface with cling film, leave to cool to room temperature, then chill until ready to bake (ideally overnight).

    3. To bake, brush melted butter evenly and neatly over the insides of the ramekins; dust with an even coating of caster sugar, tipping out any excess. Preheat the oven to 190˚C, gas mark 5; position the shelf in the middle of the oven. Divide the prunes between the ramekins, being careful not to dislodge the sugar on the sides.

    4. Whisk the egg whites to medium peaks, add the remaining 30g caster sugar and whisk until stiff but not grainy. Using a large metal spoon, fold 1 /3 of the egg whites into the chocolate custard until roughly combined. Add the next 1 /3 and fold in again. Fold in the final 1 /3, trying not to knock out too much air. When thoroughly combined, carefully spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins, filling each so the tops are mounded.

    5. Lightly tap each ramekin on the work surface and, using a palette knife, slice the mound off each soufflé so each ramekin has a perfectly flat top. Run your thumb around the inside edge of each ramekin. Put on a baking tray and slide onto the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 19-20 minutes until well risen with a slight wobble. Dust each soufflé with a spritz of gold stardust or icing sugar and, using a fish slice, carefully transfer the ramekins onto pretty plates. Serve immediately with cold double cream, if liked. 

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose & Partners Food, December 2019 issue. Download the Waitrose & Partners Food app for the full issue

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