Valentine’s Menu, Dessert:

Peanut Butter & Damson Jam Soufflé served with a sloe gin gimlet

This souffle is perhaps the most crowd-pleasing soufflé we can imagine. It has all the playfulness of “PB & J”, yet with the craft and sophistication of a soufflé. If you are new to souffles this one’s for you! The process is really quite straightforward and this method will take you through a simple step-by-step. If you are whipping up a feast for someone special the main elements can be made in advance and baked after your main course.

The mould is lined with crushed peanuts which offer fantastic crunch, a pleasing contrast against the silky smooth, indulgent texture. We’ve paired this sweet and nutty dessert with a sharp and fruity sloe gin gimlet. It offers bright, berry flavours to compliment the jam in the soufflé, and it’s sour and cleansing with plenty of lime juice which helps to contrast the sweetness of the pudding.

  • Prep time: 20 mins + cooling time
  • Cook time: 10-14 mins
  • Kit: 2 ramekins, or small oval dish for 2; whisk; 2 mixing bowls
  • This recipe serves 2.

For the crème pâtissière:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, optional

For the filling:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp sugar (45 g)
  • 4 tbsp crème pâtissière – see above
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter

To line the moulds:

  • small knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp toasted peanuts
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp damson jam
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

For the gimlets:

  • 4 shots sloe gin or damson vodka
  • 2 limes
  • 1 cup ice


Note that the recipe for the crème pâtissière here is actually twice what you need. Given the process of making this thick custard it is hard to successfully make a smaller size batch. You can pop it in the fridge for two more soufflés later in the week, or loosen the remaining creme pat with some single cream and serve it as a custard with your soufflé.

  1. Crack 2 eggs and separate the yolks from the whites; keep the whites to one side. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the yolks, sugar, cornflour, and a micro pinch sea salt. Whisk well to remove any lumps.
  2. Split your vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. In a small saucepan combine the vanilla pod, seeds and milk. Keep the heat low and slowly bring this to a simmer, or just before.
  3. In a slow and steady stream pour your hot milk over your egg yolk mix, and whisk constantly as you do so. It’s important to incorporate the milk slowly to avoid cooking the yolks. Give things a vigorous final whisk then pour this mix back into the saucepan and return to a low heat. At this point pop a mesh sieve over your now-empty mixing bowl.
  4. Keep the heat low and whisk your custard constantly. ‘Cook it out’ for 2 minutes until it’s thick and glossy, and the traces of the whisk remain visible. Now pour it through the sieve, and use a spatula to encourage the thick custard through the mesh. Pop it in the fridge until needed.
  5. To prepare the ramekins, finely chop or bash your toasted peanuts together with the caster sugar and a micro pinch of sea salt. Line your ramekins or dish with softened butter then tip in the bashed, sugary peanuts and roll the moulds in a circular motion to coat the insides.
  6. Dot the base of each generously with jam and peanut butter and set to one side. All of this prep can be done well in advance.
  7. When you are ready to cook and serve, preheat the oven to 190 C and boil a full kettle. Combine 4 tablespoons of your chilled crème pâtissière with 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter. Stir well.
  8. In a large, spotlessly clean and dry mixing bowl, combine the egg whites from earlier along with a third egg white, and have 45g of sugar (3 tablespoons) in a small container ready to go. Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks before adding the sugar a third at a time and continue whisking until you achieve glossy, stiff peaks.
  9. Gently fold one third of the egg whites into the peanut butter mix, followed by the second, and finally the third.
  10. Spoon this soufflé mix into your lined ramekins or dish and tap the base on your counter to level the mix and knock out any air pockets.
  11. Pop your ramekins in a larger roasting tray and pour in the hot water from the kettle until it’s half way up the sides of the ramekins.
  12. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes if you’ve made individual ramekins, or 14 minutes if you have prepared a larger soufflé for 2.
  13. While they are baking make your gimlets! In a cocktail shaker combine 4 shots of sloe gin or damson vodka with lots of ice and the juice of 2 limes. Shake vigorously for 1 minute then pour into chilled glasses and enjoy this refreshingly share tipple in happy contrast with your sweet and creamy soufflé.