This is a typical Portuguese dish, much easier to make than it might seem, rich and eggy, and first cooked for me by my friend in bon, Teresa Grilo.
Dissolve the sugar in the water, and cook it over a low heat with the vanilla pod. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks until they are foamy and pale. Whisk the egg white until firm, and fold carefully into the egg yolks. Spoon the mixture into the bun tins – a scant tablespoon of the mixture in each should fill all 24 holes.
Remove the little souffls from the tins, and allow to cool slightly on wire racks. Dip them, with two forks, into the hot syrup, and arrange them in a shallow glass or china dish.
Pour the rest of the syrup over them, discarding the vanilla pod, cool, and chill until required.
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.