17 May 2012

Souffléd crab & asparagus tart

Look at that rise - and it was falling, as we were photographing it
I was in two minds as to whether to blog this recipe, as it had a variety of reactions from us here - not all of which were good.

However, the story is worth blogging as it was an interesting process to go through in making it, the dish turned out beautifully - apart from the obvious flaw which I deal with below - and there must be somebody out there who would enjoy eating it!

Because of the lack of affordable fresh crab meat locally - which I find completely outrageous, as we're right on the South Coast - I had to resort to using tinned crab.

What makes a crab affordable, you might ask?  Well, I'd been quoted prices of £7 for a small to medium Poole Bay crab - which is very definitely unaffordable.  If I could find any kind of crab for £4, that would become affordable (just!) but "not around here" seems to be the problem.

You can just see the texture in this picture
Regrettably, the tinned crab we opted for had to have been the one to avoid.  I know that there is better tinned crab out there, because I've used it before.  However, this one (Kingfisher brand) was bitter and rank.  Unfortunately, we didn't discover just how bitter until we tasted the tart.

However, the bitterness of the crab meat was just my problem with the tart.  I did actually manage to finish my slice, but I wouldn't have wanted to have gone back for any more!

Son and heir said that he couldn't taste crab in the tart at all, which surprised me, as all I could taste was its bitterness.

Hubby couldn't handle the egg component of the tart.  He has a marked sensitivity to eggs anyway, but I had assumed that he would be okay as a) the eggs were part of a tart filling and b) he'd had an egg-based tart filling not very long ago, when I made the Salmon & Asparagus Quiche - and been fine for that.  However, what I'd not taken into account was the souffléd texture of the tart filling.  Those whipped egg whites were the undoing of him.  One mouthful in and it was very apparent that he wouldn't be able to continue.  So  he had a meatball sandwich instead, poor chap!

It looked beautiful when it came out of the oven!
So, you'll see this poor old tart really wasn't done justice to at all by us - and I'm quite sure that with a better brand of tinned crab meat, or alternatively fresh crab meat, it would be quite delightful.

It was an interesting cooking exercise, though, as I've been hankering after making a soufflé for a while - and this was a sort of half-way house to the soufflé proper.

There are some recipes that just bear the reputation of being difficult - and soufflé is one of them.   On T.V. programmes such as Masterchef and Britain's Best Dish, the mention of a soufflé being attempted (note "attempted" - I'm doing it now!) is greeted by a chorus of sharply indrawn breaths and comments like "it could all be over, if this soufflé won't rise!".

Well, as ever, issue me with a challenge and I'll have a crack at it.  I felt that the reputation of soufflé in general was the challenge, but I was glad of an opportunity to have a go at a halfway house version.

With this recipe, you are required to make a roux-based sauce - a very thick version - into which you mix all your flavourings - nutmeg, chilli, crab meat.  You then fold in the whipped egg whites and the whole kit and kaboodle goes into the tart case and into the oven.

What came out, was a perfectly risen pastry encased soufflé.  To say that I was pleased, was something of an understatement.  I'm now filled with confidence to try a cheese soufflé for lunch one day soon.

If only that crab meat had have been good.  Ah well - live and learn.

I found the original recipe on the BBC Good Food website and rather than recommend it here, which I really don't feel able to do, I thought I'd point you in the right direction to find it, if you want to have a go at it yourself.  Just click on the link here.    


  1. Wow! Again tempt us!! Lovely tart, looks incredibly delicious. These are his pictures done that I want to try it.:-))

    1. By all means, do, Moni! As I say, with better crab, I'm sure it would be delightful. :)

  2. You have to make mistakes to learn from them! It looks delicious though, it's made me hungry now ;)
    whatrebeccasaid.blogspot.co.uk xxxxxxxx

    1. My thoughts exactly, Rebecca! I won't be buying that sort of tinned crab again, that's for sure. :)

  3. I think I bookmarked this recipe when you first mentioned it in meal planning because it really appeals. A shame about the crab but I'm still tempted to give it a go.

    Definitely try a cheese soufflé! I think their reputation for difficulty is undeserved, and they're soooo delicious (if you can find a recipe online for the Le Gavroche soufflé suisesse - and you don't mind consuming enough fat to knock a year or two of your life expectancy that's definitely one I'd recommend).


    1. Oh thanks Seren! I'll keep my eye open that one when I'm trawling for recipes. :) Surely one little soufflé for lunch won't do too much damage? lol

  4. I sounds like a delicious idea. As soon as I have some leftover crab ....!!

    1. Does one ever have "leftover" crab? It's a bit like "leftover" bacon - it just never happens. LOL

  5. Hi, just to let you know that I added this post to StumbleUpon for you. Someone did this for my corned beef post and its page views just shot up exponentially. I hope that works for you too.
    If it does, and you want to, you could like one of my posts that you liked in StumbleUpon too – but you do have to register with them (it's free) and then download their toolbar – probably too much hassle.
    Thanks for following Carole's Chatter

    1. Thank you for that, Carole! :) I registered with StumbleUpon ages ago, but have never done anything with it. I'll go and investigate further - and I've liked your Eggs page. Thanks!


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