Soufflé, the word itself can be rather
intimidating. Of all things culinary, the mention of a soufflé seems to strike fear in many.
Soufflé; a French word that literally means "puffed up", is a culinary term in both French and English for a light, frothy dish, just stiff enough to hold it's shape. It can be savory or sweet, hot or cold. It's a light fluffy dish of egg yolks and stiffly beaten egg whites mixed with any variety of other ingredients. A primary ingredient in baked soufflés - though it is seldom mentioned in the ingredient list - is air. Air trapped in the body of the soufflé causes the dish to look inflated. If the air starts to escape from the soufflé, it will look deflated. That's why most baked soufflés are served immediately. The dish acquired a reputation for difficulty and proneness to accidents. Conversely, a successful soufflé has certain glamour.
This reputation for frailty may be partly due to nervous cooks who open the oven door while the soufflé is baking. Opening the oven door lowers the temperature in the oven and will interfere with the rising. The same is true for most cakes with beaten egg whites. I can still hear my mother’s voice, admonishing us ever so gently, not to bang, jump, make noises or open the oven door while those types of cakes and dishes were baking.
A soufflé has to be left undisturbed for the full cooking time and then served promptly. A soufflé will collapse if it is undercooked, or if it is kept waiting after cooking.
For those of you that are afraid to attempt the traditional soufflé, I bring to your attention the chilled or frozen "soufflé."
Frozen soufflés aren't really soufflés, but are frozen mousses made from flavored mixtures of egg whites, or whole eggs, whipped cream and often a fruit flavoring or purée. They're often presented in a soufflé dish that has been wrapped with a removable collar so that the finished recipe looks like a baked soufflé, hence the name.
Although this type of "soufflé" will not strike fear in those attempting it, I guarantee it will qualify as a "Lintastic” winning dessert. This recipe is made in a quart size soufflé dish, but for those of you who choose to make it in individual ramekins, the recipe will work just as well. Just make sure to add the collars to the ramekins. Each recipe will yield 6 portions.
NO BAKE, CHILLED LEMON SOUFFLÉ
n 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
n 2/3 cup lemon juice
n 2 envelopes unflavored kosher gelatin
n 1/2 cup water
n 6 eggs
n 1 1/2 cups sugar
n 2 cups heavy cream
n lemon wedges
n 1-quart soufflé or casserole dish (with straight sides)
n parchment or foil
n pastry bag with star piping tip
This recipe calls for a "collar". It is made of parchment paper or foil. It's wrapped around the dish, so that the top of the foil or parchment paper rises two inches above the rim of the dish. The sides of the molded mixture are supported by the collar before they set. Once the collar is removed, soufflé stands tall and it seems as if it "rises" out of the dish.
Prepare a 4-cup soufflé or casserole dish with foil collar. Measure two lengths of foil long enough to encircle the dish. Fold in half lengthwise; the foil should be about two inches higher than the rim of the dish. Fasten collar to dish with tape. Sprinkle the kosher gelatin over water in small saucepan. Let stand 10 minutes, until gelatin is softened. Place over very low heat until gelatin dissolves and mixture is clear. Remove from heat, cool. Combine eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl. Beat at high speed until very thick and light. This will take 7-8 minutes. Do not use a hand mixer. While that's beating, whip 1 1/2 cups of the cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form, refrigerate. Combine lemon rind and juice with cooled kosher gelatin, pour into egg/sugar mixture. Continue beating until well-blended. Remove bowl from mixer. Chill for 5 minutes in large bowl partly-filled with ice and water. Stir frequently, until mixture is thick. Fold in whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Pour into prepared dish. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Remove collar gently. Beat remaining cream. Garnish soufflé with cream and lemon wedges.
So go ahead, make noise, dance around the kitchen, bang the cabinet doors and open the fridge, this soufflé is not going to fall!
Judy Joszef is a pastry and personal chef as well as a party planner. She spent 18 years as a pastry chef at Abigael’s, The Cedar Club, Centro and T42 in the Five Towns, before launching her current business, Soireé. She can be contacted at Judy.soireé@gmail.com.