So. The first piece of good news is that I have finally figured out how to do accents on the blog. Finally I can write about soufflés without worrying that people will think that I don't realise there should be an accent on the 'e'. I worry about these kinds of things, you know. Next thing you know, I'll be able to insert links into my posts so you can click on a word or recipe title and it magically transports you to the relevant page. The wonders of modern technology are hopefully within my grasp so bear with me, I'm still fairly new to all this.
Anyway. Soufflés. If you asked me what I would eat for my last meal, I have a feeling that a soufflé would feature somewhere along the line. For pudding probably. There is something so heavenly about the fluffy lightness of it all that seems entirely appropriate fodder to precede a meeting with one's maker. It would be tricky though as I a also especially partial to a fondant au chocolat. Perhaps seeing as it its the last meal, I could have both?
What flavour? Those who know me well would probably bank on chocolate. But they'd be wrong. For me, it would have to be lemon. There is something about airy citrus eggyness that I just adore. Oddly enough, until Sunday night I had never made a lemon soufflé. A cheese one, yes. A chocolate one, of course. But never lemon. My mother came to stay on Sunday and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to test out a Delia recipe which involved making an easy lemon curd to dollop into the bottom before topping with the whisked lemony egg top. If you think I love chocolate, you should see me with a jar of lemon curd.
So, Delia says that these soufflés are 'everlasting'. That they do not sink as much as the usual kind. As you can see from the photos, this was not strictly true - if you take a look at her site, you'll note that hers look somewhat more impressive. However, they did retain their light fluffiness and by the time they reached my mother, they were still reasonably risen (she has endless patience and put up with my photography of the puds even though they were sinking before her eyes). To be fair to Delia, I had a slight accident with one of the eggs so I was one egg white down. I adjusted the recipe accordingly but think I would have had more 'rise' with the additional white, and also had my ramekins been a little taller.
Anyway, most importantly, how did they taste? Delia came up trumps. Divine.
Here is the all-important recipe, re-written with my notes.
For the Real McCoy, go to http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/hot-lemon-curd-souffles,767,RC.html
For the lemon curd -
Juice and zest of one medium lemon
1 1/2 oz golden caster sugar
1 oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes, straight from the fridge
1 level teaspoon cornflour
For the soufflés -
3 large eggs
2 oz golden caster sugar, plus...
1 tablespoon of golden caster sugar
Zest and juice of one medium lemon
1. Make the lemon curd. Lightly whisk the egg in a saucepan. Add other lemon curd ingredients and heat slowly whisking with a balloon whisk until the mixture thickens (a few minutes). When thickened, simmer gently whilst continuing to whisk for 1 minute.
2. Remove from heat and spoon into four, lightly buttered ramekins. This can be done well in advance, but cover the ramekins and leave at room temperature.
3. The soufflé part needs to be done when you are ready to eat. It is EASY - they only take a few minutes to whisk up and guests will probably appreciate a pause in proceedings after the main course! Pre-heat oven to 170C.
4. Separate the eggs. Put the yolks into a medium-sized bowl and the whites into a large, very clean bowl. Whisk the whites until to stiff-peak stage.
5. Add one tablespoon sugar to the whites and whisk in.
6. Add lemon and remaining sugar to the yolks and mix well. Then fold in the egg whites carefully so that you keep as much air in as possible.
7. Pile the mixture gently into the ramekins. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes until risen and gorgeous.
8. Remove from oven, sprinkle with icing sugar and place ceremoniously on the table. Wait five minutes for the lemon curd to cool down before plunging in your spoons. It is hot. Trust me!
I missed out the cornflour when making the lemon curd. It did not seem to matter.
Use a decent sized ramekin (Delia prescribes 2 inches of depth, mine were a mere 1 1/2).
Be careful not to push too much air out of the whites when folding into the yolk mixture.
Wine Match -
Hmm. Interesting one. Eggs can be a little tough on wine, to say the least. I think I might go for a lightly botrytized Chenin Blanc from the Loire with this (this means the grapes have been affected by 'noble rot' which feeds of the grapes, sucking moisture and thereby concentrating sugar, flavour and acidity). Possibly a semillon/sauvignon based pudding wine, such as Sauternes or Barsac. But I wouldn't want too much concentration. I didn't try this with a wine on Sunday, but will do next time, and I'll report back!