Little Prune Souffles

11:30 am on 19 September 2011

Reprinted with permission from What’s For Pudding? published by Penguin NZ. Copyright © text and photographs Alexa Johnston, 2011.

A friend gave me this recipe many years ago and I imagined it was his invention, but like most good ideas, it seems to have been around for a long time. I found recipes for soufflés made by combining hot prune purée with beaten egg white in most of my early New Zealand cookery books and many old British ones. You can serve them hot and well puffed, straight from the oven, which involves some last-minute kitchen work, or chill them. As they cool they will lose a little of their height and acquire a firmer texture so they can be turned out of their moulds and adorned with a little runny cream.


  • 10–12 prunes
  • ½ cup  / 115 ml orange juice or port
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp brandy  (optional)
  • 2 egg whites 2
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds

Getting ready

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and butter four small ramekins or soufflé dishes. They should hold just over ½ cup/150 ml. Before dinner cook the prunes in the orange juice or port until they are very soft. Purée them in a food processor, return to the pot and sweeten to taste. Add some brandy if you like.

Mixing and cooking – between courses

Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form and quickly fold in the re-heated prune purée. You will see the egg white swell as it heats up.

Quickly pile the fluffy mass into the prepared dishes, sprinkle over the flaked almonds and put them into the oven on a baking tray. After 10 minutes they will be

towering above the dishes in approved soufflé fashion and the almonds will be toasted. (Your guests will just have to wait for them – they are worth it.)

Remove the tray from the oven, put the little soufflé dishes onto flat dessert plates, dust them with icing sugar and take them to the table with some cream in a jug.

Enough for 4 people.

Or try

Another festive soufflé Warm a few tablespoons of Christmas mince with some brandy to loosen it and fold through the egg whites. Or cook dried apricots instead of prunes for a very pretty result.

Banana Soufflé A recipe from an undated newspaper clipping pinned into my copy of Colonial Everyday Cookery, sent in by 'Frangipanni’: Mix 3 mashed bananas with 3 tbsp desiccated coconut, 2 tbsps of sugar and the juice and grated zest of 1 lemon. Beat 2 egg yolks with 1 tbsp cream and fold in, followed by 2 stiffly beaten egg whites. Put into a greased ovenproof dish and bake at 350°F/180°C until golden brown.

Stephen Morris’s wine recommendation

Without thought of a budget I’d drink either of two rose champagnes I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy recently: NV Laurent Perrier Rose or 2002 Pol Roger Rose – both on the other side of $175 – both with wonderful lively bubbles and rich, plum, cherry, dried fruit characters.

Back in my house, the El Candado sherry from Valdespino, made with Pedro Ximenez grapes. Blackstrap rum, molasses, prunes & raisins. Texture, sweetness and great depth.