Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chilled Lemon Souffles

The dessert of the meal I’ve been describing this week was individual chilled lemon souffles, and this comes from a delightful, little book. Eggs by Michel Roux is smaller in size than other books, but in it you’ll find perfected techniques for cooking eggs and a wealth of ideas for egg dishes. Each section is devoted to a way of cooking eggs. The steps involved in the basic preparation are clearly described with instructions and photos, and then several variations on dishes using that preparation are presented. I’m looking forward to trying crunchy fried eggs which is a method of poaching in hot oil. The variations include crunchy fried eggs on darphin potatoes with spinach and crunchy fried eggs on dandelion salad. And, there’s so much more. Classic sauces like hollandaise, mornay, and sabayon are described. There are crepes both savory and sweet, quiches, omelets including rolled Thai varieties, custards, baked eggs, and hard-cooked eggs stuffed with mussels. I really like this book.

While so many dishes jumped out at me as I read this book, the chilled lemon souffle was the first thing I made because it worked well with my plans for the party. This is not a cooked souffle. The ingredients are simply folded together, transferred to serving dishes, and chilled. I wanted to use the freshest eggs I could find, so I headed straight to the farmers’ market. Milagro farms had some beauties last weekend, and I talked with the farmer about the chickens that laid them. They have several varieties of chickens which are allowed to roam free, have a moveable coop so their domain can be moved about the farm, and they’re fed the organic vegetables grown at the farm. The dozen eggs I bought included some brown, some cream-colored, and some pale blue eggs. They were perfectly fresh and delicious. For the souffles, six eggs were separated. The yolks were whisked with sugar and lemon zest. Gelatin sheets were softened in water, the water was squeezed from them, and then they were dissolved in warm lemon juice. That lemon juice was then whisked into the egg yolk mixture. Cream was whipped to a ribbon consistency and folded into the yolk mixture. Egg whites were whisked to soft peaks with some sugar, and then they were folded into the main mixture.

In the book, this is presented as one large souffle with a ring of lemon slices around the top and sliced almonds in the center. I decided to serve it in individual portions instead. So, I used six ramekins and wrapped each of them with parchment paper to support the souffle as it was spooned into each cup and above each rim. The ramekins were chilled for about five hours. Thinly sliced lemon was gently cooked in sugar syrup for a couple of minutes and allowed to cool. I served each souffle with a few lemon slices and a sprinkling of sliced almonds. I was pretty sure this was going to be an enjoyable dessert, but I was surprised by Kurt’s reaction. I had imagined he would tolerate the lemon dessert and find it ok, but he was actually just as thrilled with it as I was. The texture was like clouds as it was set just enough to hold its shape, and the flavor was lovely and lemony without being too assertive. It wasn’t too rich or too filling, and it was a nice way to end the meal.



20 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos, the texture on this is awesome. It looks like a gourmet dessert :).

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  2. Nice way to use one of our favorites: lemon. The cold, tart taste must be great.

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  3. I am not the biggest lemon fan but I would have a hard time no being all over these guys...wow - nice dessert.

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  4. Seems sooo fresh! I need it now. I also adore lemon and I'm sure this one is a perfect dessert.

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  5. This dessert looks fantastic - so refreshing with the lemon and very sophistated too because most folks do not make souflles.

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  6. I have recently discovered how much I love lemon. These look scrumptious! I love eating sweet, refreshing clouds!

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  7. Oh, I love that book. My mom has a copy and I could look at the photos all day. So much so, I guess, that I totally missed this recipe. It looks wonderful!

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  8. Mmm looks good! I like the touch of almond slices on top.

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  9. Wow - those look incredible. In my experience, everyone loves lemon so this is fool proof in my book. So often mousse has gelatin, so I am happy to see these don't. Great call on wrapping them with parchment - they look just gorgeous.

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  10. Hi Lisa,
    I have the same book from Michel Roux!! That book is so cool & well explained!! I love this man!!
    This recipe was on my try -list & it does looks great & fab!!

    I send you 3 Michelin Stars for this great dessert!

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  11. This looks like the perfect ending to a festive -- and filling -- Easter supper.

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  12. I really like the sound of a nice and light and fluffy lemon souffle!

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  13. I love visiting your blog! Your food makes me drooling and craving!

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  14. What a delicious souffle, I love lemon and love souffle too.
    Cheers,
    elra

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  15. I love how you candied the lemon. Looks divine.

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog :) How you've given me a new one to follow! I look forward to new posts.

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  16. what a smooth, creamy, dreamy dish. i particularly love the slivered almonds on top--they'd give a welcome crunch. :)

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  17. A beautiful, marvelous dessert! I also envy you for those wonderful-sounding fresh eggs you used. One question regarding the gelatin sheets mentioned in this recipe: are they agar-agar?

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  18. I simply must make these souffles - how delicious! I'm having fun catching up with your blog - so many gorgeous dishes!!!

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  19. I LOVE rainbow colored chicken eggs direct from the farm. People are always so surprised when they see them for the first time.

    You should ask your farmer if they keep any Bantam (sometimes called Banties) chickens. They are much smaller and produce cute little eggs that make perfect amuse bouche canvas. A lot of organic farmers keep them around because they act as natural pest control, in that they eat EVERY tiny bug they can get their hands on.

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