When Stylist’s Amy Grier was invited to do one of the Masterchef’s now-famous ‘skills tests’ she was rather nervous.
ABOVE: Monica Galetti and Stylist's Amy Grier
Michel Roux Jr's senior sous chef, Monica Galetti, was going to teach her to make a crêpe soufflé with salted caramel sauce and caramelised bananas, one of the recipes the professionals have to tackle in the up-coming series. But does she have what it takes to make it in a professional kitchen?
See how Amy got on below, then put your own skills to the test by scrolling down to find the full recipe for crêpe soufflé.
I started off by preparing the crème patissière filling – a vanilla cream. Then it was time to attempt the crêpes. Monica expertly rolled the batter around the pan, picking up and flipping the pancake using only her fingers. “Now you do it,” she said. Gulp. This could be a disaster… But three pancakes later, I’m a pro.
Lesson one: professionals don’t need spatulas to flip crêpes.
To make the salted caramel sauce I heated sugar until it turned golden then took it off the heat and added cream and salt. After slicing the banana diagonally, I laid it on a baking tray and doused it with sugar. Then, taking the blow torch, I blasted each piece for a few seconds until it was golden brown. At first I was scared of doing it too slowly/ quickly/entirely wrong. But I soon got the hang of it. Counting to four is the trick.
Lesson two: using blow torches is fun.
The main event
For the soufflé, Monica whisked five egg whites into stiff peaks. “The mark of a professional is when you add the sugar,” she advised, “Too early and your soufflé will collapse.” I shakily tipped it in under her watchful eye. I then combined the soufflé mixture, a spoonful at a time, to a dollop of crème patissière, careful not to overwork. Next, to assemble the crêpe soufflés, Monica deftly put a spoonful of soufflé onto one half of the crêpe and folded it in half. She did the same to quarter it before baking it for five minutes. Mine was just a tad more messy… To finish, I plated-up the bananas, then the crêpes with caramel sauce poured on top.
Lesson three: soufflés are not that scary, and everything tastes better smothered in caramel.
Now it's your turn...
Recipe: crêpe soufflé
STEP 1: Prepare the crème patisserie filling
- 6 egg yolks
- 125g sugar
- 40g flour
- 500ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- A little butter or icing sugar, for cooling
- Place the egg yolks and about one-third of the sugar in a bowl and whisk until they are pale and form a light ribbon. Sift in the flour and mix well.
- Combine the milk, the remaining sugar and the split vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil. As soon as the mixture bubbles, pour about one-third onto the egg mixture, stirring all the time.
- Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over gentle heat, stirring continuously. Boil for 2 minutes, then tip the custard into a bowl.
- Flake a little butter over the surface or dust lightly with icing sugar to prevent a skin forming as the custard cools.
STEP 2: Prepare the crêpes
- 2 cups self raising flour
- pinch salt
- 1/4 tsp bi-carb soda
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tbs melted butter
- Place flour, salt, bi-carb and eggs in a mixing bowl and mix on low speed.
- Gradually add milk and then mix on high speed until smooth.
- Melt butter. Dip a piece of paper towel in melted butter and use to brush base of a 16cm non-stick crepe pan or frypan over medium heat.
- When hot, pour in just enough batter to cover the base. Tilt pan so batter covers base in a thin film.
- Cook crepe for about 1 minute until underside is golden, then use a spatula to flip. Cook other side for just under a minute until golden.
- Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat for remaining crepe mixture, stacking crepes on the plate as you go.
STEP 3: Make the crêpe soufflé
- 5 Egg Whites
- 60g sugar
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff, gradually adding the sugar in whilst whisking.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the crème pat mix to remove any lumps.
- Add the whisked egg whites to the crème pat gradually, taking care not to overwork.
- Spread enough soufflé mix onto half a flat pancake to cover, fold over.
- Spread another layer over half the folded pancake, and fold again, so you are left with a quarter triangle.
- Place in a preheated oven (190’C) for 7 minutes, until the pancake is crisp and the soufflé has doubled in size.
- Serve with a caramel sauce, Anglaise or fruit coulis of your choice.
MasterChef: The Professionals starts 5 November, 8.30pm on BBC2. Monica’s Kitchen by Monica Galetti is out now (£20, Quadrille)