Jerusalem artichoke and fresh goats' curd soufflé with thyme and lemon chicory and celery leaves, caramelised hazelnuts – by Laurie Gear

11 September 2006
Jerusalem artichoke and fresh goats' curd soufflé with thyme and lemon chicory and celery leaves, caramelised hazelnuts – by Laurie Gear

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the artichoke purée

150g Jerusalem artichoke, scrubbed
250ml milk
250ml water

For the caramelised hazelnuts
100g hazelnuts, skinned
200g olive oil
140g sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of curry powder
20g water

For the soufflé
Softened butter for the ramekins
60g brioche crumbs
40g hazelnuts, ground, first roasted then skinned
50g butter
50g plain flour
150ml milk
75g goats' curd
2 egg yolks
Salt and pepper
5 egg whites
Fresh thyme leaves
Lemon zest, finely grated

For the artichoke purée, cut the artichokes into similar-sized chunks. Simmer in water and milk until tender. Drain, liquidise and sieve.

For the caramelised hazelnuts, cover the hazelnuts with olive oil, fry gently until golden, drain on kitchen paper. Boil water and sugar to 177°C. Add the hazelnuts and take off the heat. Stir slowly with a spatula until the sugar crystallises and coats the nuts. Put them in a wide pan and caramelise, making sure they don't stick together. Spread them on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Season with salt, pepper and curry powder while still hot.

For the soufflé, butter four ramekins and coat generously with mixed brioche crumbs and ground hazelnuts.

Make a light-coloured roux with the butter and flour. Gradually mix in the milk to make a thick béchamel. Add the curd, purée, lemon zest and thyme leaves. (We use a lemony unpasteurised fromage de chèvre from Innes that works well with the nuttiness of the artichokes.)

Place the mixture into a metal bowl, mix in the egg yolks and season. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, adding a few drops of lemon juice. Carefully fold the egg whites into the soufflé mixture. Fill each ramekin and tap on the work surface to expel any air bubbles. Put in a shallow bain-marie of boiling water. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes.

Cool a little, turn out on to a non-stick baking sheet. Rebake for five to six minutes at 200°C.

We serve this with chicory leaves and picked celery hearts, lightly dressed with a hazelnut dressing. Garnish with caramelised hazelnuts.

Laurie Gear, chef-proprietor, the Artichoke, Amersham, Buckinghamshire

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