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a little something

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

Lemon Soufflé
[print recipe]
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.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

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13 nibbles at “a little something”

  1. Maureen says:

    This soufflé looks really yummy! I love the fact that you used lemon in it. I love the lemon scent and it surely tastes good!

  2. Amy @ Chew Out Loud says:

    YUM! Spring perfection right there! I love lemons and adore souffles. It’s a winner combo. You got some great pix before anything deflated :) I’d love to try this.

  3. Thalia @ butter and brioche says:

    What a perfect souffle! These look light as air and insanely delicious. I wish I had one now.

  4. Kristin says:

    The souffles are beautiful. I would really like to try them sometime, but guess I’d better invite some people over, as I am fairly certain my husband would not be a fan of the texture. Spouses with texture issues, who also don’t like coffee, nuts, or peaches complicate things. Fortunately he has many good points, so I’ll keep him around.

  5. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Your souffle looks perfect!! So yummy.

  6. Marina says:

    I love soufflé of any kind. I particularly like that you can assemble it hours before you actually stick it in the oven.
    Thanks for your post.
    Ps. I regularly make your chicken tikka. A favorite in my house.

  7. jill says:

    Salivating over this!
    Love your comparisons to sad trombone and Eeyore! xo

  8. FlannelJammies says:

    Yum! I love lemon desserts! Just curious if you’ve ever shared your lemon poppyseed cake recipe? I used the search field to try and find it, but it doesn’t seem to be on here.

  9. Giselle @ the busy spatula says:

    They look absolutely perfect! Like soft lemon pillows ❤️

  10. D says:

    That looks exquisite.
    May I ask which citrus juicer you are using, to get the lemon remains so clean?

  11. Amy says:

    You are right!

    Lemon soufflé is the ultimate answer.

  12. jenyu says:

    Maureen – I think it would have been even better with Meyer lemons, but no one in town had them at the time.

    Amy – thanks!

    Thalia – they are very light and airy and short-lived :)

    Kristin – ha ha!!! Poor fella! :)

    Katrina – thank you xo

    Marina – you’re so sweet!

    jill – :)

    FlannelJammies – hrmmm, I don’t have a lemon poppyseed cake recipe as I’ve never made a lemon poppyseed cake before – but now you’ve got me thinking… :)

    Giselle – they’re super pillowy right out of the oven, but even as leftovers (in the fridge) they’re pretty fluffy.

    D – I have an automatic juicer, a Cuisinart (this one: that I got for about $30.

    Amy – :)

  13. Felicia says:

    I tried but I found that it’s too sweet for me.. Need to reduce the sugar used.
    Texture itself was fantastic:)

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