As our choir was preparing for our Lenten concert program this past week, we reminded ourselves that the English word Lent is a shortened form of Old English len(c)ten, which means ‘spring’. This means that Lent refers to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth.
What could be more spring-like than a warm tart and sweet lemon soufflé? As I was preparing this dessert as a gift for a friend, I looked out into our snow-covered yard imagining crocuses budding their heads out of the frozen earth as a promise of what lies ahead.
CHANGE SERVING SIZEpeople
- 1 cup white sugar divided
- 3 tbsp butter room temperature and softened
- 3 egg(s) separated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp lemon zest (from two lemons)
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- A soufflé will work the best if all of your ingredients are at room temperature before beginning.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter and dust with sugar six – 1 cup ramekins or other heatproof bowls or a six cup soufflé dish.
- Set aside 2 tablespoons of the sugar to use when whipping the egg whites. Place the remaining sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add the lemon zest to the sugar. With the beater attachment, grind the lemon zest into the sugar, creating a fragrant, slightly yellow tinged sugar. Working the zest into the sugar will release lots of the essential oils in the zest, creating a super lemony batter.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer or with a hand mixer, cream the lemony sugar and softened butter. Add the three egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and beat until combined (do not over mix)
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually pour in the lemon juice and milk. Set aside while you beat the egg whites.
- In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.
- Carefully pour (or use a ladle) the batter into the prepared ramekins. (The batter does not rise much during baking so you can fill the ramekins almost to the rim.)
- Place the ramekins or soufflé dish in a larger baking pan. Boil a tea pot of water to create a water bath. (A water bath is used to provide temperature protection for the eggs.)
- Place the basting pan with the souffle inside into the oven, carefully pulling the oven rack out a bit. Carefully pour in enough hot water so that the water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins or soufflé dish, and carefully slide the rack back into the oven.
- Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes or until the sponge cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. Be careful not to insert the toothpick into the lemon sauce at the bottom of the ramekins. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool slightly before serving.
This dessert can be served warm or at room temperature. Dust the tops of the puddings with confectioners sugar and dress with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries or lemon slices.