January 28th, 2010

Cauliflower Soup with Morbier Air Profiteroles

I have always loved the combination of cauliflower and cheese. However I do have a rather sad memory of a cauliflower cheese incident. Dad was accustomed to having his food cooked in a simple way, he preferred plain boiled vegetables, boiled rice and over cooked meat, otherwise there would be “war at home”. Dad classed this combination as devils food, and one year when I visited it caused a rather unpleasant family feud. I insisted on making cauliflower cheese as mum loved it but dad did not eat his supper and well the rest is history.

I discovered the existence of Morbier about 10 years ago and always perceived it as being rather sophisticated and classy cheese. I still think so and continue to be in love with it as much as that very first discovery. I love the subtle but perfect blue line that runs through middle of this slightly salty sweet semi hard but equally bouncy and soft cheese. The gentle fragrance is subtle at first but once you take the second bite the taste becomes stronger and it leaves you with an unforgettable rounded fragrant after taste. Because of this sophistication and strength I have chosen to use Morbier to accompany this humble cauliflower soup dish.

Cauliflowers are an impressively complicated and well designed structure of a vegetable. Have you ever taken the time to study the composition? I think that architects and artists must find the construction of this incredibly clever but unique vegetable fascinating, it has so may different dimensions, arches, links and shades; but then the colour fascinates me even more. When I cook cauliflower I always try and keep the fresh creamy white colour, I find it complex warm and very inviting.

Cooking a soup that packs a punch in flavour is not always easy, my aim when I choose a flavour profile is always to end up with a dish that tastes of the ingredients that I have used. Cauliflowers have a strong fragrant flavour but it’s incredibly interesting how the interference of other strong flavours such as onions and garlic can easily mask the freshness and perfume of the cauliflower. Hence I only use these sparingly when I cook cauliflower soup. I apply this theory with most fragrant vegetables especially the root varieties such as celeriac and parsnips.

One of Mr.P’s Christmas presents last year was a new needle attachment for his cream whipper. So this whole dish was designed and developed around this needle attachment. Boys and their toys!! I must admit I was intrigued to see it in action. The needle is a pretty neat design and helps you  apply foams in smaller amounts in tighter and smaller spaces. I used the needle to inject the morbier air into the crisp and freshly baked profiteroles. When you bite into them you get a cheesy surprise, delicious!

Cauliflower Soup

  • 650g cauliflower
  • 750ml vegetable or white chicken stock
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 200ml double cream
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Remove and discard the green outer leaves from the cauliflower. Finely chop the  cauliflower. It's not necessary to individually cut  the florets as it just wastes time.

Heat a large saucepan with the unsalted butter, as soon as it starts to foam add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Saute the cauliflower and stir continuously, as soon as it starts to take on colour add the stock of your choice, cover the saucepan with a lid and bring the soup to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the soup for 12 minutes.

Add the cream, bring the soup back to simmer and cook for 3 minutes.

Blend the soup until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

The soup is now ready to serve. If you are not serving the soup immediately then chill and reheat once you are ready to serve.

The Soup will keep for up to three days refrigerated in a clean air tight container.

Morbier Air

  • 150g morbier cheese, rind removed
  • 100ml water
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 leaf of gelatine, soaked

Just a little warning that this cheese sauce does not look great when cooking but once blended the cheese sauce will look creamy, smooth and appealing.

Soak the gelatine in cold water.

Chop the cheese in small pieces, place the cheese, water and cream in a small saucepan and gently heat over low heat, once the cheese mixture reaches 80°C transfer the cheese mixture to a blender. Squeeze the excess water from the getatine and add the soaked gelatine to the warm cheese sauce. Blend the cheese until smooth.

Thermomix Users: Place the chopped cheese, water and cream in the TM bowl. Set the timer for 6 minutes at 80°C, speed 3. Once the cheese has melted and  starts to bubble turn the heat off, squeeze the soaked gelatine to remove the excess water and add the gelatin to the cheese sauce. Turn the speed dial to 10 to puree the cheese sauce until smooth, about 20 seconds.

Pass the cheese sauce thought a fine sieve and pour the sauce into a cream whipper. Attach the needle attachment to the cream whippers lid and seal whipper with the lid. Charge the whipper with two gas pellets, shake the whipper vigorously and refrigerate to let the cheese set.

Once you are ready to serve the profiteroles: remove the cream whipper from the fridge about 30minutes before needed, shake the cream whipper vigorously, if the mixture remains set then dip it under a running hot water tap to melt the gelatine slightly. Shake the whipper vigorously, insert the needle into the base of the choux bun and squirt the morbier air into the cavity of the choux buns.  Serve the choux buns immediately.

The Morbier Air can be made up to two days in advance and kept in the fridge in the cream whipper. Remove the cream whipper from the fridge 30 minutes prior to use to allow it to loosen up slightly.

Tiny Choux Buns

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 120g plain flour
  • 150ml cold water
  • 3 whole medium free range eggs
  • 1tsp table salt

Preheat the oven to 220°C, line two baking trays with either parchment paper or silpats and have ready a jug with 100ml of cold water.

I have been making choux pastry in the Themomix for about a year and would never return to the conventional way. The Thermomix  saves time, washing up and a lot of stirring. You could however follow the conventional way if you do not have a thermomix, the ingredients remains exactly the same.

Weight the salt, water and butter directly into the thermomix bowl, place the cap in the hole and set the timer for 5 minutes at 100°C, speed 1.

Add the flour, return the lid and remove the cap, and blend the mixture at speed 4 for 2 minutes.

Remove the lid and leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.

Return the lid and secure, turn the dial to speed 5, add the eggs one at a time directly onto the running blades, mix the eggs into the flour mixture for 5 minutes. The choux pastry will be glossy and ready to use.

Transfer the choux pastry to a piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe 2 cm wide tear drop choux buns onto a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silpat. Leave a large enough gap between the buns to allow them to puff.

Place the tray in the preheated oven on the middle shelf and quickly pour the cold water on the bottom of the oven floor and close the door quickly. The water will create steam and the buns will form a crispy outer shell and a large air cavity will be created on the inside. Bake the buns for 5 minutes at 220°C, turn the heat down to 180°C for a further 20 minutes. I normally bake one tray at a time, I find they come out crispier and cook better if there is good air circulation.

Once the buns are cooked and are light and crispy, transfer them to a cooling rack and leave them to cool completely.

Keep the buns in an air tight container in a dark cool and well ventilated space, they will remain crispy for upto 3 days.

Watercress Oil

  • 20g watercress leaves
  • 20g olive oil
  • 20g sunflower oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Place all the ingredients into a small jug and use a stick blender to blend the watercress oil until smooth.

Keep refrigerated until needed.

To Serve

  • Cauliflower soup
  • Tiny choux buns, calculate 3 per portion
  • Morbier Air
  • Watercress Oil
  • 4 Freshly cracked and toasted hazelnuts
  • Hand full of small watercress leaves to garnish the dish

Remove the morbier air form the fridge and loosen the mixture by shaking the cream whipper vigorously and dipping it under hot running water if necessary.

Bring the cauliflower soup to the boil, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. If the soup is slightly thick add a bit of stock or water to let it down to the required consistency.

Fill the choux buns with the morbier air.

Ladle the soup into the serving bowls, drizzle the watercress oil and shave the toasted hazelnuts over the soup to garnish. Serve the soup immediately with the morbier air choux buns garnished with the watercress leaves.

Serves 8/ 10

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20 Comments to “Cauliflower Soup with Morbier Air Profiteroles”

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  1. Kathryn says:

    What a lovely recipe to find at this time of year when there are perfect Breton cauliflowers around. Home grown is best but when I don’t have any in the garden the Breton ones are a very close second

    Only just discovered your site – I’m in love

  2. Mike says:

    Lovin the garnish, dont like cauliflower or cheese, and together is my idea of food hell, although I liked the cauliflower and squid risotto at The Ledbury from Brett, but anyway, I wont do this exact dish but will steal the Profiteroles idea as a soup garnish for something else


  3. Sam says:

    Ah – Cauliflower soup. I learned about expressing the pureness of cauliflower in a soup from Paul Bertolli’s book “Cooking by Hand”. I studied his method and perfected it (in my opinion), by swapping olive oil for butter. I know it’s rather simple and not at your level but you might find it interesting. https://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/2008/09/tale-of-two-cauliflower-soups.html
    I wish I had someone like you to cook for me – everything sounds so delicious – and I am feeling very lazy these days.

  4. [...] Cauliflower Soup with Morbier Air Profiteroles Recipe by Madalene … [...]

  5. loved the needle….yes men and their toys…James Beard gave me a cuisineart back in the early 70′s which I still use and own along with many other toys..Do you know about the magic bullet???I think it is sold as a Maxi Mix in Europe thru Euroshopping..I live in France 1/2 of the year and I find the euro one is much better designed..
    Thank you for your wonderful postings…How fortunate we are all to have this kind of a web..deep sea diving indeed…
    I make a culiflower which I steam whole..then smother it with a tapenade,capers,chopped kalamati olives,parsley olive oil and fresh lemon juice and finely chopped white onions..I lightly saute the mix then put it directly onto the steaming cauliflower..Wonderful cold in Pita with Tahina……:)

  6. Lady L says:

    What a delightfully rustic plate bowl combination to show off your exciting little dish. Who would have thought cauliflower cheese could be given such an interesting slant!

  7. zurin says:

    wow!! I cant believe cauliflower soup cld look so beautiful and tempting…i love ur blog.

  8. John says:

    Hi there Madalene!

    Just discovered your beautiful website! Its late now but I will be back tomorrow to read some more!
    Great recipes and nice photos!

  9. Bill Spence says:

    What a delight to find The British Larder. The recipes are scrumptious and made interesting with your comments and information. I am so pleased that you link recipes to the Thermomix; such a wonderful piece of kitchen equipment. I couldn’t live without it and now I have the perfect combination – your recipes and the Thermomix.
    Now I must praise The British Larder on my blog.

  10. Eleanor says:

    The soup sounds lovely and I want to try it. Liked the insight into keeping the taste pure.

    I have a question that I feel I should know the answer to, but never have. Your recipe calls for ‘unsalted butter’, and then says ‘season with salt and pepper’. Can one just use salted butter in the first place?

    Many recipes call for ‘unsalted butter’ and then say ‘add salt’. Why?

    Although I love unsalted butter, no one else in our home does, so we tend to have only salted butter around, unless I buy the other especially for cooking.

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