Cut a paper collar from a double layer of
baking parchment, 5 cm/2 in deeper than a 900 ml/1½ pint soufflé dish.
Wrap around the dish and tie in place with string. Chill. Oil a baking
sheet. Heat the caster sugar in a small heavy pan with the water until
the sugar dissolves. Boil rapidly until the syrup becomes pale golden.
Add the almonds and boil until dark golden.
Pour the mixture on to the baking sheet
and leave to set. When hard, transfer to a plastic bag and break into
pieces with a rolling pin. Reserve 50 g/2 oz/½ cup and crush the
remainder. Pour half the coffee into a small bowl; sprinkle over the
gelatin. Leave to soak for 5 minutes, then place the bowl over a pan of
hot water; stir until dissolved.
Put the egg yolks, soft light brown sugar,
remaining coffee and liqueur in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Whisk until thick and foamy, then whisk in the dissolved gelatin. Whip
the cream until soft peaks form, then whisk the egg whites until stiff.
Fold the crushed praline into the cream, then fold into the coffee
mixture. Finally, fold in the egg whites, in two batches.
Spoon into the soufflé dish and smooth the
top; chill for at least 2 hours or until set. Put in the freezer for
15-20 minutes before serving. Remove the paper collar by running a
warmed metal spatula between the set soufflé and the paper. Whisk the
cream for decoration, if using, and place large spoonfuls on top.
Decorate with the reserved praline pieces and whole blanched almonds.