One of the things I like the most of our heritage is the wonderful array of desserts that make our lives so sweet. As is the case with many dishes and ingredients in Peru, lots of our desserts were brought by the Spanish first, and then by everybody else who carried all their rich traditions to the New World. This is why our kitchens have strong influences from all around the globe, especially Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.
Peruvian desserts are a melting pot of flavors and techniques, styles of cooking and ingredients. I remember clearly that 30 years ago, this cake-soufflé was in vogue and you could find it in every restaurant and pastry shop. It was delicate and exquisite, so I naturally wanted to learn how to make it, and soon I enrolled in cooking classes with two of the most respected instructors in the city: Ada and Maricarmen. They weren´t trained chefs but knew how to cook, and most importantly, they knew how to teach a class full of women, most of them housewives, and impress everyone with their talent and good humor, and with their good knowledge of all the culinary treasures of our country.
Here you have the wonderful recipe I learned from them. Desserts look like they’re a lot of work, but are usually well worth the hassle, and that’s certainly the case with this one, (especially if you have a super sweet tooth like Peruanos do). I changed it a little bit, but I did stick to the original in the most part because it’s a real winner. I just took one step out of the concoction to make your life easier: instead of making a caramel cream to stuff the cake with, I substituted it with dulce de leche. The resulting dessert has a soft, creamy texture that feels like heaven in your mouth, if you know what I mean (if you don’t, you will once you try it!). Just by looking at the pictures you can already tell how good it is.
And why do they call it Soufflé-Chantilly or Papillon? Well, it’s not a French soufflé because it’s not 6 inches high, but it’s not a regular cake either, because it doesn´t have any flour, and if you take a bite and close your eyes, you will feel the airy texture of the soufflé in your mouth. This is probably the reason behind the name, an expression of how it looks and feels. I think it suits it very well. Papillon, I assume, is just another expression of its “frenchness”.
To get the perfect Soufflé-Chantilly, the best advice I can give you is to follow the instructions to the smallest detail. When it comes to desserts, the slightest variation can give a completely different (usually not so good) result. The original Papillon is with cherimoya, a typical fruit from Peru that you can find abroad sometimes (I’ve found it in Harrys Teeter and Giant, for example). If you want to take the easier road, I think it would be equally delicious with soursop, stewed pear slices, apricots in compote, lychees in syrup, or any seasonal fruit of your liking. I’m sure that you, your family and friends, will all become huge fans of this dessert. Que lo disfruten!
This post was originally written for www.powerfullatinas.com. For the original article, go to: http://www.powerfullatinas.com/2011/10/cherimoya-cake-souffle-heavenly-dessert-with-a-french-accent.html
- Cherimoya Papillon (Serves 8 )
- 8 tablespoons sugar
- 10 eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- cup Brazil nuts, toasted and grated
- 2 cups whipped cream
- 1 cup
- dulce de leche
- peeled and seeded (or 1 ½ cup of any other fruit of your choice)
- *Preheat the oven at 300F.
- *In a bowl, beat the egg yolks at high speed until they are light lemon in color, adding 4 tablespoons sugar and the baking powder.
- *In another bowl beat the egg whites at high speed, add the sugar, until they form firm peaks.
- (In both cases, make sure the bowls and mixer are clean and completely dry before you start mixing, otherwise the eggs won’t grow.)
- *Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks, very gently. Add vanilla essence.
- *Have ready 3 round 8 inch baking pans, bottoms greased and covered with parchment paper. Grease again over the paper, and flour the pans. Pour the mixture dividing it in equal parts in the prepared pans and bake for 12 minutes.
- *Take out of the oven. The cakes should cool for 10 minutes in the pan. To unmold, run a knife around the cakes and turn around over a rack, peel the parchment paper and let cool completely.
- *Put one cake in a plate and cover with
- dulce de leche
- Then put the second cake on top and spread with whipped cream and fruit. On the top put the third cake and decorate with more whipped cream, toasted Brazil nuts and fruit.