Vegetarian recipe ideas
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Heat the oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1 and put four 9.5cm x 5cm soufflé moulds or ramekins in the fridge to chill. Combine the milk, cream, 15g of sugar, the rice, vanilla pod and a pinch of salt in an ovenproof pan. Cover and bake for 1 hr 30 mins-2 hrs or until the rice is tender, stirring every 30 mins. Remove the vanilla pod, then transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz to a smooth purée, ensuring there are no rice grains remaining. Cover and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, for the caramel sauce, scatter the 100g of sugar into the bottom of a heavy-based pan. Put over a medium-high heat, keeping a close eye on the sugar as it starts to melt. Shake the pan occasionally to distribute any sugar that hasn’t melted and, once it’s really melting down, use a silicone spatula to bring it together, gently breaking up any lumps. When it’s a smooth, deeply amber liquid – being careful not to let it burn – quickly stir in the butter (be careful, as it will bubble up and may spit). Slowly pour in the cream, stirring until it forms a shiny, glossy caramel sauce. Stir in the sea salt. Set aside.
When the ramekins are completely cold, remove from the fridge and generously brush the insides with the butter, making sure there are no spots missed, and brushing right up to the rim. Tip the 75g of sugar into one ramekin, rotating it so the interior is thoroughly coated in sugar, then tip the excess into the next and repeat until they are all coated. Set aside.
Tip the egg whites into a large bowl and beat using an electric whisk on high speed for 1 min. Gradually add a quarter of the remaining sugar, whisking for another minute, then another quarter. Repeat until all the sugar has been incorporated. Once all the sugar is added, continue to whisk for another 30 seconds until it forms stiff, shiny peaks.
Meanwhile, put the rice pudding purée and 15g of the salted caramel sauce in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Gently warm the mixture and stir together, then remove from the heat. Fold a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the rice pudding mixture to help loosen it, then fold in the rest until thoroughly incorporated.
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Spoon the soufflé mixture into the prepared ramekins, slightly overfilling them. Using a palette knife, level off the tops. Run your pinched thumb and index finger around the inside rim of each of the ramekins to ensure the soufflés will rise straight up. Sprinkle the tops with the popcorn, then put on a baking tray and bake on the middle shelf of the oven, making sure they have space above them for rising – they’re ready when they’ve risen about 1cm above the rims of the ramekins.
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