Recipe: lemon soufflé
There was a surprise dump of 3 inches the other morning on the mountain at Crested Butte. 3 inches does not a powder day make, but with such a warm and dry March and a below average winter snowfall, we’ll take it! The fluff was nice while it lasted and the extra few inches will extend the lifetime of the mountain’s base as well as the nordic trails. I think in past years I would have despaired about the lack of active snowfall. However, having learned to skate ski this year, I could keep busy and get some great cardio workouts on the non-powder days since powder is not ideal for skate skiing.
jeremy takes an afternoon break for some turns
valley floor after a fresh snowfall
So unless the snow has melted to dirt, there is SOMETHING to be had. Jeremy was all sad trombone about the lack of powder because he brought his fat skis, but he cheered up when I mentioned that we can still skate or even classic. And while groomers aren’t especially exciting, it’s just fun to get outside into this beautiful high country. He can be an Eeyore at times, so I have to remind him that when life hands you lemons, you make lemon soufflé. Amiright?
eggs, butter, flour, sugar, powdered sugar, lemons, vanilla, milk
grate the lemon zest
juice the lemons
measured and ready to roll
I have always had a fear of making soufflé thanks to an old Brady Bunch episode when Alice pulled a fallen soufflé out of the oven. When I finally tried my hand at it ten years ago, it worked beautifully on my first attempt. It wasn’t a fluke, because I made it again and again and then I got tired of soufflé. But I’m back at it because I’ve never made a lemon soufflé and it just sounded so perfect for this time of year. Instead of the giant soufflé, I opted for individual soufflés – I just find them much prettier.
butter the ramekins
coat the buttered interiors with sugar
Despite the huge intimidation factor, soufflés aren’t that difficult to make. The first step in this process is to make the custard base. Heat the milk, then temper it into the mixture of egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla. Return it to the pan and cook until it becomes a custard, then stir in the lemon.
whisk the yolks, vanilla, and sugar together
incorporate the flour
temper with the hot milk then cook into a thick custard
mix the lemon juice, lemon zest, and powdered sugar
whisk the lemon mixture into the custard
I think the key to a successful soufflé is the handling of the whipped egg whites. Whip the whites to soft peaks, then add some sugar and whip until they are glossy and stiff. I have overwhipped my whites to where they are not smooth, but a little chunky, and the soufflés still worked out. The most important thing is when you fold the whites into the custard, don’t overmix the batter. You want to incorporate the whites so the batter looks uniform, but you have to be gentle enough with it that you don’t collapse all of those precious little air bubbles in the egg whites. Those air bubbles make the soufflé rise.
whip the egg whites to soft peaks
add sugar and whip until glossy
fold a quarter of the whites into the custard
fill the ramekins to the rim and flatten the tops
baked until golden on top and puffed above the rims
My biggest gripe about soufflés is that these suckers deflate quickly. Serve them right out of the oven – maybe with some powdered sugar and whipped cream – have all of that at the ready before the soufflés are done. The texture is soft, spongy, airy, and wet. This recipe is not very sweet (you can add sweet with the whipped cream and powdered sugar) and has a delicate lemon accent on the eggy flavor. While they taste fine as leftovers, they really are best eaten fresh.
serve right out of the oven
spongy and light
from The New York Times
2 tbsps butter, melted
5 tbsps granulated sugar
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsps lemon zest, finely grated
4 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp powdered sugar, more for dusting
5 large egg whites
lightly whipped cream
Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush 6 8-ounce ramekins or an 8-cup soufflé dish with the melted butter. Dust with 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, rolling it around the sides and emptying the excess out (or into the next ramekin). Place the ramekins or dish in the refrigerator.
Bring the milk to a boil in a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Remove from heat. Whisk the egg yolks, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of sugar together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the flour. Whisk 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture until blended. Continue mixing the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture 1/4 cup at a time until all the milk is incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly over medium-low heat until thickened (about 2 minutes). Remove the custard from the heat. Mix the lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar together in a small bowl. Whisk the lemon mixture into the custard until smooth.
Beat the egg whites on high speed until they reach soft peaks stage. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the egg whites and beat until stiff and shiny. Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the custard until the whites disappear. Fold in the remaining egg whites until just blended – don’t over blend or you’ll deflate the egg whites and the batter will turn soupy. Pour the batter into the ramekins or soufflé dish. Fill the ramekins to just below the rim, flatten the tops with a knife, and wipe the inside edges with your thumb. Reduce the oven to 375°F and bake until puffed and the tops turn golden brown, about 12-14 minutes for the ramekins and 20-25 minutes for the soufflé dish. It should still be wobbly when you take it out of the oven. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.
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