During a cold, snowy afternoon I was left with extra ingredients, from the clafoutis and custard recipes that were being developed. Not one to waste ingredients, I combined all the extra component mixtures into a batter and baked it in a handy tube pan. The resulting dessert appears at first glance to be like angel food cake, but is super moist and dissolves like custard on the tongue, with a candied, lightly caramelized surface. This aerated pudding is intriguing and absolutely unique. The staff and children loved it, but it was so different from anything we have had before that nobody could quite decide what to call the new concoction, so I hurried over to Facebook and offered a quick contest.
The Winner, J Goodwin, came up with the word ‘pouffle’ and earned herself a recipe name in her honor and perhaps a place in culinary coinage history. This light-as-air dessert is puffs to tremendous height, but you must serve it immediately, as it begins to collapse within about 5 minutes. Even fallen, it is still quite nice – thought not as impressive.
The dessert is studded with pockets of thick, tart, cherry puree, for a nice contrast to the soft, sweet body of the pudding.
This recipe will take roughly 2 hours from start to serve time, so bear that in mind when making.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and set aside a 10 cup tube pan (you will want a large tube pan – this recipe may make more than can fit in a modern pan)
Prepare cherry puree, clafoutis batter, and meringue (assembly and baking directions are below mini recipes)
1 12 oz bag dried tart cherries
2 c water
In blender, combine cherries and water. Blend until thick and smooth – mixture should resemble baby food or applesauce. Set aside about 1 c to use in dessert and reserve the rest for other things or to serve on the side.
1c (4 oz or 113 g) Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs or about 3/4 c aquafaba
2 c milk or dairy free sub
4 1/2 tbsp butter or df margarine, melted
1/4 c brandy
1/2 tsp vanilla
Combine flour and salt bowl of your electric mixer.
In a saucepan, heat butter and milk (or df alternatives) until butter is just melted and milk is warm.
Using a stand mixer, place the flour and salt in the bowl and blend to combine.
Add eggs or aquafaba to flour mixture, on low speed, just until the two begin to combine. Once egg is combined with flour and beginning to ‘seize’ – thicken too much – begin pouring the melted butter/milk into the egg/flour in a VERY slow stream (think a ribbon the thickness of yarn).
If you go too fast you will curdle the egg – the idea is to temper the egg and combine the mixture to make a very stable batter. As you add the mixture, the batter should begin to form and become smooth. Once you have added at least half the liquid you may slightly increase your pace of addition of the liquid. Eventually all of the milk/butter will be added and the mixture will resemble very heavy cream or pancake batter. Set aside.
12 egg whites (12 oz egg white), room temperature OR about 2 1/2 c aquafaba
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract
It is important that for maximum volume your egg whites or aquafaba be at room temperature or slightly warm. Place whites or aquafaba, salt, and cream of tartar in mixing bowl. With speed on low, stir until foamy – with aquafaba, this will take about 10 minutes. Turn speed to speed 2 (medium low) and begin to beat. Allow to beat for 2 minutes or so or until whites begin to form foam – with aquafaba this can take up to 15 minutes. Begin adding sugar very slowly – about 1 tbsp every 30 seconds, allowing full time between additions. Pour almond extract into the foam and continue to beat until soft peaks form – the whites should still be wet but should form a soft peak that folds over lightly when the beater is pulled up from the mixture. Set aside and begin to assemble pouffle.
TO MAKE POUFFLE
Pour meringue mixture into the clafoutis batter. Using a large spatula, working quickly and gently, fold the batter into the egg white until evenly combined.
Pour half the batter into the tube pan.
Place small spoonfuls of puree evenly spaced along the batter, taking care to avoid the edges. You should use half of the 1c of reserved puree.
Pour the remaining batter on top of the puree in the tube pan. There is a lot of batter, so there may be too much for the pan – only fill the pan to within 1/2 to 1 inch of the top. Place even spoonfulls of the puree along the top of the cake batter.
Take a knife or spatula and gently place it down through the batter, swirling to create a ‘swirled’ pattern of puree in both layers – avoid the sides, if possible, in order to reduce scorching.
Place the pan in preheated oven and bake, without disturbing for 70-80 minutes, or until VERY puffed and golden on the top. The pooffle should be stable. Serve immediately for best presentation by cutting with a VERY sharp knife and spooning out with a large spoon.
Even cold or room temperature this is nice, although it may deflate and be not impressive at all to look at.