Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cook's Illustrated's Lemon Soufflé (4/24)

Oh, yes. This project is still happening. Whether you like it or not. Whether I'm supremely soufflucked (word credit: Steph C.) or not.

This here soufflé, Cook's Illustrated's Lemon Soufflé (available for free online, courtesy of Leite's Culinaria), happened in March. Holy cannoli, is it seriously August? Eegad. Regardless of the month, and how long ago I made this soufflé, I distinctly remember how much I loved making and eating this soufflé. Courtesy of a lengthy list of notes I jotted down at the time.

First step, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position the rack to somewhere around the middle of the oven. I don't have a position that's exactly in the middle, so I went with the slightly lower one.

Next, whip up those egg whites with the cream of tartar, and slowly add the sugar and salt, until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Transfer the whites to another bowl.

Throw the egg yolks and remaining sugar into the mixing bowl and whip until thick, like a custard. Whip for another 30 seconds after tossing in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour.

Next, the hard part: folding. Fold in the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture one third at a time. Remember to avoid over-folding.

And then you're pretty much home free. Gently move the mixture into a 10-inch skillet after buttering up the skillet (make sure that it's ovenproof and that you use an oven mitt!). Keep the mixture cooking in there until the edges barely start to bubble and set.

Transfer the skillet to the oven for around 10 minutes. Don't open the oven door for at least the first 7 minutes. This is essential in ensuring that the soufflé rises and has structure. For me, it took about 20 minutes for the mixture to set in the middle (i.e., to stop jiggling around) and for the top to turn golden-brown. The soufflé didn't even come close to falling after a good 5 minutes, so don't fret if you take a little time to serve this guy up.

The end product was beautiful--reminiscent of a lemon meringue pie, but better, and with less (well, maybe just slightly less) guilt. I passed on the dusting of sugar at the end because I thought it would take away from the pure presentation of defined peaks and flowing valleys.

The soufflé was like a cloud, outlined with toasted textures and infused with floating hints of lemon. It was nowhere near being too sweet or too eggy. This family-style approach is probably the perfect way to incorporate a soufflé into a dinner for a decent number of people. The presentation is just as striking as that of individual ramekin soufflés and it serves at least six people, if not eight, per skillet. The fact that this all came out of a plain ole 10-inch skillet still amazes me.

Some Orange Creamsicle ice cream from Full Tilt and mint doesn't hurt either. A perfect playground of hot and cold, creamy and refreshing, and fluffy and bright.

On deck, after one last Chicago post, my favorite taco joint in Los Angeles and a crabby soufflé.


  1. Haha yes! Happy to contribute my bad pun. Also, this souffle looks soufflendous. 8)


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