Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lemon Heaven


My sister came over for dinner tonight and she is the best audience for my cooking adventures so I always try to make something special when she comes over. I knew she'd enjoy some Black Cod Baked in Parchment with fresh littlenecks my brother had dug, some chopped linguica, spinach, thyme - yum. The entrée choice was easy. But what to make for dessert. Something bright, light and spring-like perhaps. Something with lemon! I immediately thought of these adorable lemon soufflés that are baked right in the lemons I had seen Martha make. I thought I'd give it a try.

Don't be scared off by soufflés. I had never made them before and found them pretty easy. There are very few ingredients and the process is fairly simple. I did make one major discovery that I'd like to share with you. It makes a big difference whether you use the hollowed out lemon or a ramekin to hold the soufflé mixture. The finished soufflé in the lemon was so much lighter, fluffier and tastier. The soufflé in the ramekin was more cake-like. You don't want that. Definitely go with the lemons. The reason I used both is because you have to trim off the very bottom of the lemon so that it can stand up straight on the cookie sheet. But even a small slice off the bottom created a hole all the way through some of the lemons. So I had to use some lemons and some ramekins. Midway through I came up with the idea to cover the holes with some of the rind from the inside of the lemon. Worked like a charm! I recommend using that McGyver maneuver so you can use all lemons.

This is a great spring/summer dessert. Give it a try!

This recipe is from Martha Stewart's website. I've featured it below because I have a couple of suggestions based on my experience.


LITTLE LEMON SOUFFLÉS RECIPE

Serves 8
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

• 8 large lemons, preferably Meyer
• 3 large eggs, separated (use room temperature eggs, they separate so much easier!)
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• Confectioners sugar, for dusting

How to:
1. Preheat oven to 350°; line a baking sheet with parchment. Trim tip end from a lemon so fruit sits level. Cut the top of the lemon off (about one-third of the way down), making cut parallel with bottom; reserve top. Repeat with remaining lemons.

2. Hold a lemon above a strainer set over a bowl and scoop out the insides (use a melon baller or serrated grapefruit spoon). Squeeze the juice from the pulp, and reserve. Repeat with all lemons. Place shells on prepared baking sheet. (By the way, you will have WAY more lemon juice than you need for the recipe so plan on mixing up some cocktails later using all that extra great fresh lemon juice. I made a lemon mojito!).

3. Combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup reserved lemon juice, and flour in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or if you only have a hand mixture like I do, just use that). Beat mixture on medium speed until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water; mix constantly until very thick, about 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat, and return to mixer. Beat on medium speed until cool, about 10 minutes. Set aside

4. Combine egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in clean mixer bowl. Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch. Remove bowl from heat, and return to mixer; beat on low speed until frothy. Gradually increase speed until meringue is shiny and holds soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to overbeat.

5. Whisk one-third of the meringue into the yolk mixture. Gently fold in the remaining meringue. Fill each of the lemon shells to just below the rims.

6. Transfer baking sheet to oven, and bake until meringue is slightly golden and rises about 1 inch above the shell, about 14 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to serving plates. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve immediately.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Donna said...

Warning - you cannot just have one serving! I had two, Lynne had three. So creamy and delicious. After all the rain and dismal weather we've had, these cheery little lemons brightened my day. Thanks, Lynne!

9:08 AM  
Blogger Lynne said...

Guilty as charged. There are only about 3 spoonfuls in each one though so we really weren't that glutinous. LOL.

9:28 AM  
Blogger mini-me said...

they look delicious. i'm going to have to try this some time ... perhaps this weekend :)

1:04 PM  

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