Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lemon Soufflé with a Sweet Cherry Sauce

Y'all! It's officially lemon season! Bright, beautiful lemons are popping up everywhere, it seems, and these little babies were just begging to be used in something other than a risotto or pasta sauce or as a splash in a cocktail. I've never done a lemon dessert, so I figured, why not?
To date, this is probably the most intricate recipe I've made here on Butter Than Toast. It wasn't necessarily that difficult, it's just that there were a lot of steps and they all took a specific amount of time. At one point, I was using my stand mixer, hand mixer and was hand stirring.... all at the same time. It was slightly crazy. I'm fairly certain my husband thought I was testing aircraft engines in the kitchen with all of the whirring noises from the various mixers.

I forgot to tell him I secretly engineer miniature helicopters in my spare time.
The results though, were absolutely phenomenal. Light and fluffy, the cold burst of tart lemon was the perfect summer dessert without being too rich. Even more fitting for summer, it's not baked like a traditional soufflé-- simply ingredients whipped beyond oblivion and chilled for a few hours. I definitely preferred the taste to anything else, since my souffle collapsed a little bit. I blame it on the heat and humidity of Okinawa, but it did turn out to be more of a fluffy mousse than a true soufflé. I don't know if I would necessarily make this one again in its entirety- simply because of how much work it was. However, it was my first soufflé and I can't really base my like or dislike for them solely on this experience. Take these ramblings with a grain of salt.
One Year Ago: Fancy Macaroni and Cheese

Chilled Lemon Soufflé

Recipe from the book Luscious Lemon Desserts 

1/4 cup water
1 envelope plain gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
3/4 plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Extra equipment needed:

3-4 large heatproof bowls
Saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water
Large basin filled with ice water

Sweet Cherry Sauce

A Butter Than Toast Original

1/2 pound frozen, pitted cherries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons corn starch mixed with a few tablespoons of tepid water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Wrap a large soufflé dish (*the book recommends a 5 cup souffle dish... but unless you're really skilled with the way of the soufflé, go with smaller individual cups or a really large dish to hold all of the lemony fluff) with a folded strip of heavy-duty aluminum foil or parchment paper to form a collar. Arrange the collar so that it extends about 3 inches above the rim of the dish, and secure it with tape or string. Lightly oil the dish and the inside rim of the foil. Chill the dish in the refrigerator.

Pour the water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand about 10 minutes, or until bloomed. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of hot water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved and the liquid is clear.

Meanwhile, process 1 cup of the sugar with the lemon zest in a food processor until the zest is finely ground.

Beat the egg yolks, sugar mixture, lemon juice and salt with an (*hand held for this part!) electric mixer on medium speed in a large and deep heat proof bowl until combined well. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water and continue beating for 15 minutes (*for real), or until the mixture is very thick and pale. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and add the gelatin mixture. Continue to beat until the mixture cools to room temperature (*for me it was another 10 minutes or so. See? Told you- helicopter testing!)

Beat the egg whites with clean beaters on medium speed in a large bowl until just foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high, sprinkle in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating just until egg whites form stiff peaks.

Beat the cream with an electric mixer on high speed in a large bowl just until stiff peaks are formed.

Place the bowl with the lemon and egg yolk mixture in a larger bowl of ice water and whisk just until it begins to thicken and set (*Mine took longer than I thought it was going to). Gently fold in the whipped cream, and then fold in the egg whites. Pour into the soufflé dish and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours, until set and thoroughly chilled. Meanwhile, prepare sweet cherry sauce:

In a saucepan over medium heat, gently cook the cherries until they have thawed and released most of their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and lemon juice, stirring continuously, until sugar has dissolved. With your pureeing machine of choice (*I used an immersion blender) process the mixture until smooth, return to the saucepan and add cornstarch mixture. Remove saucepan from heat and stir for a few minutes until mixture has thickened. Mix in the vanilla extract and cool mixture to room temperature. Set aside to serve with soufflé.

To serve, remove the collar from the soufflé. Present at the table and spoon onto dessert plates with cherry sauce, if desired.

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