Zenith Pear and Carrot Souffle

Zenith Pear and Carrot Souffle is a superb light and fluffy main course dish, with special appeal for vegetarians. Serve with a chilled sparkling wine such as Blanc de B/ancs or Vinho Verde.

4

1½ oz. butter

4 large carrots, scraped and grated

4 soft pears, peeled, cored and chopped

2 fl. oz. water

4 egg yolks

4 oz. plus

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon prepared French mustard

2 tablespoons flour

4 fl. oz. single cream

6 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Preheat the oven to very hot

450 °F (Gas MARK 8,

230 C). Using

1 tablespoon of the butter, grease a

4-pint souffle dish and set aside.

Place the carrots, pears and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Set the pan over moderate heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the mixture in a fine wire strainer held over a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, rub the ingredients through the strainer, discarding any pulp remaining in the strainer. Alternatively, place the carrot and pear mixture in the jar of an electric blender and blend to a fine puree.

Place the puree in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, 4 ounces of the cheese, the pepper and mustard together with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually add the cream, stirring constantly and being careful to avoid lumps.

Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

When the mixture is cool, stir in the egg yolk mixture. Remove the puree from the refrigerator and add 8 fluid ounces of the puree to the sauce. Blend the mixture together. With a metal spoon, gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Transfer the mixture to the prepared souffle dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.

Place the dish in the centre of the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to fairly hot 400°F (Gas Mark 6, 200 °C) and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until the souffle has risen and is golden brown on top. Remove the souffle dish from the oven.

Pour the remaining puree into a sauce-boat and serve immediately, with the souffle.

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