A soufflé is such a beautiful and sophisticated dish. It is delicate, light, and airy, like a puffy cloud. I must admit, though, that the idea of making a soufflé was very intimidating to me. I tend to focus on the things that could go wrong – it wouldn’t rise, it would fall flat midway through cooking, or it would be lopsided. However, I came across the following tips for making the perfect soufflé and it gave me the push I needed to give it a try.
Tips For Cooking Soufflés (adapted from The City Cook)
- A soufflé is customarily baked in a tall, round, fluted dish with straight sides to promote rising.
- Soufflé dishes must be prepared with a coating that helps the batter rise. By coating the inside of a soufflé dish first with butter and then with a dusting of sugar, the batter doesn’t adhere to the side of the dish, thus leaving it free to climb to the top. Once prepared, place the dishes in the refrigerator until ready to fill.
- Very fresh egg whites have a high water content so they are prone to graining and do not hold air as well. It is best to use eggs that are 4 or 5 days old.
- When whisking the egg whites, it’s essential that there not be a single bit of egg yolk in the whites because it will interfere with getting the necessary volume. Also, make sure the mixing bowl is meticulously clean, with absolutely no residue to ensure that the egg whites whip properly.
- Be certain that the soufflé base is cooled to room temperature or close before folding it into the egg whites because a base that is too warm will deflate egg whites.
- To help the soufflé to rise evenly, run your thumb along the outer edge of the dish, about a half inch deep or so, before you bake.
- A collar adds stability to the soufflé if there is concern about too much height or being lopsided. Take a piece of parchment paper long enough to wrap all the way around your dish, fold it in half lengthwise so it is stiffer, and tie it around the outside of the dish with bakers twine so it rises about two inches above the rim.
- Cook souffles at the bottom of the oven if you use traditional (nonconvection) baking, in the middle if you use convection bake.
- Don’t overcook the soufflé because it will become dry and will collapse more easily. Start testing it a couple of minutes before the recipe says it will be done: very gently shake the baking dish to look for jiggling — don’t worry, this won’t cause the soufflé to fall.
- Your soufflé is done when the top crust is golden and firm, but the souffle jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle shake.
I am so glad I made these soufflés. They were surprisingly easy to make and they came out perfectly. Once the soufflés start to cool, they do deflate fairly fast. By the time they came out of the oven and I got a photo of one of them, they had deflated by at least an inch. However, even with the soufflés being a little flatter, they were still pretty and they tasted great, too! In spite the bold color contrast, the combination of lemons and blackberries pair very well together. The light and slightly tart lemon soufflé pairs well with the rich and sweet blackberry sauce. This is an adaptation of another Sherry Yard recipe from her book, The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts. For the base of the soufflé, stiffly whipped egg whites are gently folded into lemon curd. I placed a few blackberries on the bottom of the ramekin before carefully spooning in the soufflé batter for a warm, jam-like blackberry surprise.
This is the last recipe in the Meyer Lemon series. I hope I gave you some inspiration for using these great little lemons.
Lemon Soufflé with Blackberry Sauce
Yields six 4- to 6-ounce ramekins
For the ramekins
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the soufflé
1 cup lemon curd (recipe for meyer lemon curd found here)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
3-4 fresh blackberries for each ramekin + more for garnish on top
powdered sugar, for dusting the tops
For the blackberry sauce
10 ounces frozen blackberries
1/3 cup sugar
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Splash or two of merlot wine (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Adjust the rack to the lower third of the oven.
To prepare the baking dishes, brush ramekins or soufflé dish with melted butter and lightly and completely coat with sugar. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to fill.
To prepare the sauce, cook blackberries, sugar, and merlot until fruit is soft and breaking apart. Strain through sieve. Add squeeze of lemon juice. Cool before serving.
To prepare the soufflé, combine the lemon curd and lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until a soft foam appears, about 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the cream of tartar. Continue to whip to the soft-peak stage, about another minute. Gradually sprinkle the sugar, while continuing to whisk. Whip until the egg whites are at the stiff-peak stage, about 2-3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the egg whites into the lemon curd, one third at a time.
Place 3-4 blackberries on the bottom of each ramekin. Spoon the soufflé batter into the prepared dishes. Pile it up, no more than 3 inches above the rim. Add a collar, if necessary, to keep the batter stable. Place the soufflés on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, or until they are tall and golden brown.
They blackberries on the bottom should be warmed through and the soufflés should be pudding-like and a little creamy in the center.
Dust the tops of the soufflés with powdered sugar and drizzle the blackberry sauce. Top with fresh blackberries.
Adapted from The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts by Sherry Yard
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