Lorraine Pascale, Chef and cookbook author of A Lighter Way To Bake. Available at amazon.com.
Gruyère & Thyme Soufflé
Makes 6 soufflés
6 x 2⁄3-cup ramekins; bowl and hand whisk or hand-held electric mixer or freestanding electric mixer set with the whisk attachment
Spray oil 2 tbsp unsalted butter 1 tbsp olive oil 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour,plus extra for dusting 1 tsp english mustard powder 1 cup plus 2 tbsp low-fat milk 3 oz gruyère cheese, roughly
grated 4 eggs, separated 2 tsp finely chopped fresh chives leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme Salt and freshly ground black
Crisp green salad
These are a little higher in saturated fat than I would have liked (like pretty much all cheese soufflés), but I played around with them a bit and have got it right down as low as I can. to make them healthier, I have done things like omitted the bread crumbs on the side of the dish, as I find the soufflés rise without them, and replaced some of the butter with olive oil to lower the saturated fat. these are as light as air and collapse so, so quickly, so get them to the table as soon as you can!
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put a baking sheet into the oven to get nice and hot. This will ensure that the soufflés have some bottom heat, which will help them shoot up (and also, putting all the ramekins on a sheet makes it much easier to take them in and out of the oven). Spray the insides of six 2⁄3-cup ramekins with oil, dust lightly with flour and set aside.
Put the butter and olive oil into a medium pan on medium heat and allow the butter to melt. Then add the flour and mustard powder and mix well to form a thick paste before removing from the heat. Add the milk gradually, stirring all the time until well blended. If you add it slowly while stirring, then you will avoid any lumps forming in the mixture. Once all of the milk is added, return the pan to the heat and bring it to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to simmer for 5–6 minutes, continuing to stir all the time now until it begins to get nice and thick. Add the cheese, mixing well until fully melted, and then remove from the heat. Beat in the egg yolks, chives, thyme and seasoning until it is all combined and uniform. Scoop it out into a mixing bowl and set aside.
Next, put the egg whites into a bowl and whisk them up until they are nice and frothy, almost meringuelike. Be careful not to overwhisk them or they will go like bubble bath and not mix into the sauce well at all (and I have been there many times! The soufflé still tastes good and will rise, but the texture is a bit different and not quite as good). Stir a third of the egg whites into the reserved sauce. Don’t worry about folding it in this time, just mix it in really quickly and well so that it loosens the sauce. Then add the remaining egg whites to the sauce in two batches, folding them in more gently this time to keep the air in. Everything should now be well combined.
Next, divide the mixture equally among the six ramekins. Bang the ramekins on the work surface to make sure the mixture has fallen into all the “corners.” Then run your thumb down into the edge of the soufflé and along the inside of the ramekin, going all the way around. This will help to prevent the soufflé from sticking to the sides and therefore rise more easily.
Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and place the ramekins on it. Bake the soufflés in the oven for 12–15 minutes or until golden on the top and well risen. Don’t open the oven before the soufflés are cooked as they will collapse. Having said that, if you do open the oven, once the soufflés are back in they will still rise up somewhat, but not to the heights of their pre– oven opening former glory!
Once ready, remove the baking sheet from the oven, take it straight to the table and serve asap.
Cappuccino, Cinnamon Pecan Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
12-cup muffin pan; paper liners; food processor
3 oz pecans, roughly chopped 1⁄2 cup soft light brown sugar 4 tbsp instant coffee granules 1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp baking powder 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1 egg 2 egg whites 2⁄3 cup low-fat milk 1⁄2 cup low-fat plain yogurt 1⁄4 cup sunflower oil
I’m not a huge fan of coffee in a cup, but love the taste in cookies, muffins and cakes. these are less weighty than your average coffee- shop muffin, but are still stuffed with loads of flavor. i trawled my local supermarket looking for camp coffee essence, which is a brilliant thing to have, but could not find it, so used coffee granules in hot water to give these cappuccino muffins just the flavor they need.
Preheat the oven to 400°F, with the middle rack at the ready. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Toast the pecan nuts in a dry frying pan for 3–4 minutes. Tip two-thirds of them into a large bowl and reserve the rest for later. Blitz the sugar and coffee in a food processor for a few seconds to give a finely chopped mixture and add to the bowl. Then, toss the flours, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda through and make a well in the center. Beat the egg and egg whites briefly in a large bowl and then beat in the milk, yogurt and oil to combine. Mix the wet mixture into the dry ingredients with as few stirs as possible to give a wet, sloppy consistency. Pouring the mixture from a pitcher or using two spoons (or I like to use a mechanical ice-cream scoop), divide it among the 12 cups. Sprinkle the reserved pecans evenly over the tops and then pop the pan into the preheated oven to bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then enjoy! They are lovely served cool, but also scrumptious reheated and eaten warm.
Baked coconut shrimp salad with honey dressing & spicy mango & cilantro salsa
2 egg whites
1 oz (2 tbsp) dried bread crumbs
1 oz (2 tbsp) desiccated coconut
1⁄4 tsp dried chili flakes
salt and freshly ground black
20 raw peeled jumbo shrimp
(about 14 oz), with the tails left on if you like
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black
9 oz prepared mango chunks (or 2 medium mangoes), cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
2 red chilies, seeds removed if you want less heat, finely chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Leaves from a large handful of
cilantro, roughly chopped salt and freshly ground black
7-oz bag of prepared lettuce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
it may seem a bit odd to bake something as small as the humble curled-up shrimp, but when frying them i found that the shrimp became too rich due to the oil that they soaked up in the pan. if you, like my dear brother, are not a fan of coconut, then forgo our exotic speckled “fruit” and just use the bread crumbs instead. “But surely, Ms. pascale, the shrimp would be even healthier if they did not have any bread crumbs on at all?” “Why yes,” i would reply. “of course, but breaded and baked is much better than breaded and fried.” i have served these before as canapés to hand around as my mates arrive. it’s hard to get the shrimp with the tails still on, but if you can, they look great on the plate as they are passed around to waiting guests!
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside.
Lightly beat the egg whites in a wide, shallow bowl to break them up. Toss the bread crumbs, coconut, chili flakes and a little salt and pepper together in another similar-sized bowl. Working in batches, toss a few of the shrimp into the egg whites, making sure they are well coated. Use a slotted spoon to lift them out, allowing the excess egg white to fall back into the bowl. Then put the prawns into the coconut crumbs, toss them about and, using another slotted spoon (or you can just pick them up with your hands), transfer them onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Repeat until all are coated and then bake in the oven for 8–10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Simply whisk the honey and vinegar together in a small bowl, season to taste and set aside. To make the salsa, toss the mango, chili, lime juice, cilantro and a little salt and pepper together and set aside also. Once cooked, the shrimp should have turned from bluish green to pink, be cooked through and the coconut crumbs crisp and lightly golden. Remove them from the oven and you are ready to serve.
Divide the salad leaves among four serving bowls. Spoon the salsa over, arrange five shrimp on top of each, finish with a drizzle of the dressing and serve.