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Put a pizza stone (ideally) or else a sturdy baking sheet in to heat up.Brush the inside of the ramekins generously with butter.Recipe (adapted from Estelle Idoux’s) Savoury béchamel soufflé base 75g/scant 3oz margarine (or butter) 75g/scant 3oz plain flour 500ml/18fl oz warm milk Melt the margarine in a saucepan.Add the flour and whisk constantly for 10-15 minutes.It will be very thick at first but become thinner as it cooks.Stir in the warm milk gradually, whisking all the time to make a smooth sauce.The Idouxs may be newcomers to Knightsbridge, but they are hardly novices at the restaurant game – they have run La Cigale Récamier in Paris for more than 30 years. So much for my belief that they should be only just past soft peak stage to allow them enough elasticity to rise properly. Gérard scraped the mixture into the ramekins and then whipped them into the oven.
It is the sort of dish that’s considered too risky for a dinner party, so opening a restaurant dedicated entirely to the airy delights seems to be asking for trouble.Soufflés are the Elizabeth Taylors of the food world, with an irresistible mystique all of their own but also with a reputation for capriciousness.The baked egg-white raised confection – and I am talking about the hot, quaveringly unstable versions, not the cold mousse type – is nothing if not a diva, sinking to a rubbery mess at the slightest excuse.But that is exactly what Parisienne Estelle Idoux and her father Gérard are planning.The father and daughter team are opening a London branch of their restaurant Les Soufflés, dedicated only to soufflés, this spring in Beauchamp Place, the chic London street just around the corner from Harrods that is also home to San Lorenzo, once a hangout of the late Princess Diana.