26 Feb Milk Tart Soufflés with Cinnamon Stick Tuiles
27 February is National Milk Tart Day in South Africa. I love the fact that there is an entire day dedicated to this delicious dessert – not that I ever need an excuse to eat milk tart but it does always get me thinking of other ways to enjoy this lekker, local delight. The idea for these soufflés came to me late at night and I was so excited I started working on the recipe straight away! Since a milk tart filling is basically a cinnamon infused custard, and soufflés are essentially a combination of a custard and a meringue, it makes perfect sense to transform a milk tart custard into beautiful little soufflés. And since cinnamon is the dominant flavour here, making tuiles that look like cinnamon sticks was just a no-brainer!
The general perception is that soufflés are tricky to make, but I really find that if you pay a little attention to planning and timing, this is not the case at all! In fact, you can make the milk tart custard a few days in advance (as well as prepare your ramekins), then when you are ready to serve simply whip up some egg whites and sugar, fold into the custard and bake! It’s important to serve the soufflés immediately as the beautiful puffy top will only last 5-10 minutes before collapsing. The tuiles do take a little practice as there is quite a fine line between baking them too long (they’ll be crispy and shatter when you roll them up) or underbaking them (they’ll be too soft and fall apart). Once you get the hang of this timing, it’s incredibly satisfying to produce very realistic looking “cinnamon sticks” to serve alongside your fancy soufflés!
If you prefer to stick to a classic Milk Tart, click here.
For the cinnamon stick tuiles:
2 large egg whites
6 tbsp brown sugar (⅓ cup)
4 tbsp browned salted butter (¼ cup) *see notes
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla essence
70g cake flour (½ cup)
1 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp ground cinnamon for brushing
3 clean pencils or chopsticks, to shape the tuiles
1 sheet of clear acetate (available from stationery or baking stores)
For the soufflés
2 tbsp softened butter and 4 tbsp castor sugar (for preparing the ramekins)
500ml full cream milk
1 tbsp salted butter
1 cinnamon stick
1 large egg yolk
5ml vanilla essence (1 tsp)
50g sugar (¼ cup)
1½ tbsp flour
1½ tbsp cornflour
4 egg whites (room temperature)
pinch of salt
25g sugar (2 tbsp)
2 tbsp ground cinnamon, for dusting
- Start by making the cinnamon stick tuiles. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Using a piece of acetate, draw a rectangle 5 x 11 cm. Cut the rectangle out with scissors or a utility knife and discard, leaving a stencil to make the tuiles.
- Lightly whisk the egg whites and brown sugar together until foamy. Add the cooled browned butter, water and vanilla essence and mix well. Lastly sift in the flour and cocoa, and mix until smooth.
- Place the stencil onto the baking tray. Spoon a heaped teaspoon of mixture into the middle the stencil and spread it with an offset spatula, as evenly and thinly as possible. Lift the stencil up and repeat. I prefer to only do 2 or 3 tuiles per tray as you need to shape them quickly after baking.
- Bake for about 5-6 minutes, or until the edges of the tuiles are turning golden brown. Make sure you have our pencils/chopsticks handy when you remove the tray from the oven. Working with 1 rectangle at a time, carefully flip the tuile over and roll it around the pencil/chopstick. Quickly repeat with the other tuiles. After about a minute the tuiles will set into this shape. Use a pastry brush to brush the still-warm tuiles with cinnamon, dusting off any excess,
- Repeat this process until all the batter has been used. If it starts to dry out, add a few drops of water so that it is still easy to spread. Store the cooled tuiles in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- To make the soufflés, coat 4 x 150ml ramekins with the softened butter, brushing upwards towards the edges. Fill each ramekin with about 1 tbsp of castor sugar, then rotate until the whole ramekin is coated and shake out the excess sugar. Refrigerate until needed.
- For the milk tart custard, mix the egg yolk, vanilla essence, 50g sugar, flour and cornflour and 2 tbsp of the milk in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Heat the remaining milk, butter and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over a low heat until it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to steep for 5 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick and slowly pour the milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
- Pour this mixture back into the pot and return to a medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens, then remove from the heat.
- Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl to remove any lumps. Cover with clingfilm, pushing the clingfilm right down onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. This can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- When you are ready to serve your soufflés, measure out 1 cup (250ml) of the milk tart custard into a large bowl. Allow it to come to room temperature and give it a good mix to ensure it is smooth. Preheat the oven to 180°C. **See notes
- Add the egg whites and a pinch of salt to a clean, dry glass or metal bowl. Beat with an electric or stand mixer until you have soft peaks. Gradually add the 25g sugar and continue whisking for another minute until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
- Stir about a third of the meringue into the milk tart custard to lighten it, then very gently fold in the remaining meringue until just combined. Divide the mixture between the 4 ramekins and use a knife or palette knife to level the tops. Run your thumbnail around the rim of each ramekin to create a little gap between the soufflé mixture and the ramekin (this helps the souffles rise with nice and neat edges).
- Place the ramekins on a baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes or until well risen and golden on top.
- Dust the soufflés with ground cinnamon and serve immediately with the cinnamon stick tuiles.
*To make browned the butter, place the butter into light coloured saucepan (so you can see the change in colour easily). Heat on medium-low heat, swirling the pan frequently. The butter will begin to foam, and then start to smell nutty. You should see small particles (milk proteins) turn brown. As soon as the butter has browned, pour it into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature.
** You will some milk tart mixture left over. Use it as a dip for your tuiles or fill little pastry cases to make mini milk tarts. You could also use it to make more soufflés. The ratio is 250ml milk tart custard to 4 large egg whites + 2 tbsp sugar to make 4 soufflés.