Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lemon Souffle

When I see this picture, all I can hear is my aunt saying, "Take this! Oh, just look. Take this!"

I must admit, my mies en plas (French for "everything in it's place"), did look a bit like art against the blue counter.  The photo above is from my first try at lemon souffle, when my aunt was visiting us at the cottage. 

You see, lately I have been on a kick to try difficult recipes/cooking methods during the quiet times of my life.  My reasoning is that when a worthy occasion does arrive, I can make the appropriate dish with confidence.  An anniversary dinner? Souffle.  A Winter Ski Weekend? Chocolate pot de creme. 

I don't want to wing it when it counts.  I want some practice.  So today, I give you individual lemon souffles.
I'm sure my dear Facebook friends thought that I was just being annoying, making souffles on a Wednesday, but I needed a second try at the recipe and measurements before I shared the recipe with you here.  Success!

Individual Lemon Souffles 

4 egg yolks, room temperature
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup white sugar (1/2 used in lemon mixture, 1/2 used in egg white whipping)
1 1/2 Tablespoons white flour
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest, finely grated (or more, I gave up after getting 1 Tablespoon worth)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (recipe) and 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (to butter ramekins)
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
loose white sugar to sprinkle into buttered ramekins

Preheat oven to 375.  Butter 4 ramekins (I'm using Emile Henry) and then coat each dish with white sugar, turning dish to move sugar around.  Set the ramekins onto a cookie sheet.

In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk egg yolks, half of the 1/3 cup white sugar, flour and zest.  Stop mixer.  Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn on the mixer and whisk constantly as you slowly stream the hot milk into the yolk mixture.  Whisking and doing this slowly prevents the yolk from cooking in the hot milk.  Now pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook (whisking with a hand whisk constantly) until the mixture is thick like pudding.  Strain this hot mixture through a sieve into a large bowl (to remove any cooked bit or lumps).  Stir in lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon of softened butter.  Set aside.

In a clean stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites.  After the foamy stage, slowly stream in the remaining white sugar.  Beat until peaks form, but it is not dry.  Stir about a cup of the whites into the lemon yolk mixture with a rubber spatula.  Fold in the rest of the whites - be sure to fold well.  

Divide batter between the 4 ramekins.  Gently smooth the top with spatula and run your finger around the inside rim, removing any batter.  This will allow the souffles to rise straight up without clinging to the rim. Bake for 15-18 minutes.  Souffles will rise about an inch above the rim!  You can sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.  Enjoy!

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