The highlight of our dinner with Sis and MJ was supposed to be dessert. I know what you are thinking - after homemade pasta with rabbit sauce, it was the dessert that is the hightlight? But I was in the mood to impress.
Dessert did impress. But not for the right reasons! It was supposed to be lemon souffle. Not the easiest dessert to make (and definitely the hardest to photograph - apologies for the dodgy shots! They sank sooo quickly!) I got the recipe from a Commercial Cookery text book, and forgot that the cooking times would have been for an industrial fan-forced combi-oven. Basically, I should have doubled the cooking time for my home oven!
I did make the mixture correctly, and had I cooked them for the appropriate time (24 minutes) I think they would have been great. Unfortunately I didn't realise my mistake until we had eaten them! I first took them out after 13 minutes, served them, and after 1 spoonful realised they were undercooked. Sis and I put ours back in the oven, but BF and MJ were enjoying their lemon "mousse" so much that they declined the extra cooking time! After 4 more minutes, Sis and I took ours back out - the edges where much more souffle-like, but the centres were still completely mousse-like. Ah well, we ate them anyway! And for warm lemon mousse, they were rather nice!
3 egg yolks
60g castor sugar
20g plain flour
vanilla essence to taste
Whisk egg yolks and sugar until almost white, then mix in the flour. Bring milk to scald point (just before it boils), whisk it onto the egg mixture, return to a clean pan, and stir over medium heat until it thickens (it will start to look like custard). Add a few drops of vanilla and taste to check that the raw flour flavour is gone - if not, keep stirring over heat until it is. Pour into a bowl and cover with cling film, ensuring the cling film is pressed against the pastry cream to prevent a skin forming. If you are making this for a dinner party, you can prepare up to this point ahead of time.
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 egg yolk
1 tsp castor sugar
4 egg whites
butter for greasing
Preheat oven to 200C.
Add the egg yolk, zest and lemon juice to your pastry cream. Grease 4 ramekins with butter, place in fridge for 5 minutes, then remove and grease again with butter. Ensure that you do not miss any spots of the mould (this will cause the souffle to rise unevenly). Sprinkle sugar into each mould and move the mould around to ensure every inch is covered with sugar (for the same reasons as above).
Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks (add a little sugar partway through). Fold the whites into your pastry cream in 2 stages, first 1/4 of the whites, then the rest, as this helps to ensure maximum air retention.
Place into greased moulds, smooth the tops and place in oven for approx 24 minutes. Cross fingers, toes, arms etc and if successful, impress the pants off your guests!
Ooh, don't worry if the top of your souffle gets quite brown whilst cooking - it is more important the the centre is cooked. If the top is too dark for your liking, dust with generous amounts of icing sugar and ta da!
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