Lemon Soufflettes: Viva La Festa al Fresco 2007

1018910315_c4176d725f_m  What can possibly be more fresh than a lemon? Don’t even think that you can argue with me about this.  Just the thought of a lemon conjures clean, pure, and squeaky clean images.  Lemon meringue, lemon mousse, lemon tart, lemonade, lemon Windex…Huh?  Lemon, lemon, lemon.  You get it, right?

I wish I had a lemon tree.  I don’t have enough space in my bit o’ Paradise.   I know they have miniatures, but there’s also a sunlight issue.  When you live where I live, that shouldn’t be a problem, but I live in a "Reach Out and Touch Your Neighbor-Hood" so that presents a bit of a problem with respect to sunlight for something like a lemon tree.  My house is just too close to my neighbor’s.  That causes shade. Sad, but true.

Thank goodness for my son’s good friend.  His mother sent a lemon back with my son from her very own So Cal tree.  Lemons + California = FRESH.  Take a look at the comparison between her lemon and the ones I bought at the grocery store.  Img_3427 
Amazing, isn’t it?  Okay, so I’m thinking about another house so I can have a lemon tree…One where I don’t have to reach out and touch my neighbor if I don’t want to.

So, to celebrate Lis of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, I’m submitting some Fresh, Light, and Last Gasp of Summer Lemon Souflettes for Festa al Fresco, 2007.   Woot!


This Lemon Souffle recipe is phenomenally simple. Truly.  I read it and thought, "No Way."  But I was proven wrong.  And for those of you who like the idea of NO FAT, this is the dessert recipe for you.  And for those of you who wish to have less sugar, well, it’s a bit sweet, but I think it’s more than possible to cut back on the sugar.  I haven’t tried it myself, but the recipe is so simple, and takes so little time, that Whot tha ‘ell…right?  I might just figure it all out.

And here’s one more thing to consider before I cease my blathering and get to the cooking part of this nonsense.  Invite a couple of really good friends over that you’re very comfortable around.  Read this recipe about 5 times (that should take about 10 minutes) locate your dishes, and plan your execution.  What I mean is, plan how you’ll present this dessert.  Okay, so here’s how I would do it.

People enjoy watching others cook.  I could charge admission for this in my house.  Seriously.  I’ve sort of trained people (depending on who they are) to watch, and talk about what I’m cooking, instead of discussing things that have absolutely nothing to do with food.  I have learned how to cook and talk about other things, but I also know that the likelihood that I will screw up is very high at this point — especially if I don’t thoroughly know the recipe, and have my containers and ingredients in mind.  REALLY.  If I know these three things, my game plan is down, and then I can discuss politics, or football, or blather about just anything while I’m cooking. Are you confused yet?

So here’s what I would suggest:  Enjoy your dinner with friends, leave them at the table to talk with an extra dose of wine, and excuse yourself this way:  "Please enjoy your wine.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take care of dessert. You’re welcome to sit in if you’d like."  And then you sashay away from the table slowly, and beconing, "Walk this way…."  Well, if you were me, that’s what you’d do, and everyone would laugh.  Seriously. 

Now, I light candles when we have people over, because candles sort of do things to people that make them want to stay at the table longer.  (Ikea sells boxes of candles so cheap, it’s criminal) It’s very nice.  And if I can avoid it, I make a dessert that doesn’t have last minute prep.  But this recipe could be such a show for you if you’re game.  Trust me.  Really.  Remember…they’re really good friends that you’ve invited.  So here we go.


This "Lemon Souffle" is from Donna Hay’s  magazine, issue 32.

Have cooking pots oiled and sugared before sitting down to dinner.  Have them on the baking sheet ready to go.  Have the oven preheated to the proper temp.  Prepare cornstarch & water/lemon juice & sugar mixture ahead of time and let cool before dinner.  After dinner, the only thing you should have to do is whip the egg whites, so have them separated, in a bowl resting in the fridge ready to go.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly this happens.  Your guests will think you are a culinary stud sans the loans for culinary school.  Or tell you that you should go to culinary school!

Lemon Soufle


unsalted butter, melted for greasing
caster (superfine) sugar for dusting
1 T. cornflour (cornstarch)
1 T water
2 T lemon juice
1/3 c. caster sugar
2 egg whites
2 T caster sugar, extra
icing (confectioner’s or powdered) sugar to serve


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (355 degrees F).

Lightly grease 8.1/2 c. (4 fl. oz.) capacity ceramic cups with butte and dust with sugar.  Place the cups on a baking tray.

Combine the cornflower with the water, mix to a smooth paste and set aside (it will be watery).  Place the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring to the boil, add the cornflour mixture and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute or until thickened.  Set aside to cool completely.  (Pour into a cool dish so that it’s not sitting in the pan it was heated in…)

Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the extra sugar and beat until glossy.  Place the lemon mixture in a large bowl and gently fold through the egg white mixture.


Spoon into the cups and bake for 5-7 minutes OR until risen and golden.

Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.



Notes:  I used a cooking spray instead of melted butter to grease the cooking pots.  I used a paper towel to make sure there was only a light coating of oil. 

When you’ve coated the oiled cooking pots with the sugar, tap firmly on the counter to knock loose unnecessary sugar.  Dump this into the next pot to continue coating.

I only made four souffles.  I filled them to the top, smoothed them out, then popped them in the oven with a setting of 7 minutes on the timer. I watched them the entire time to see how they browned and rose.  I added 2 more minutes, watched them some more, and then added 2 more minutes.  I could actually see them rising and browning.

I had ready a small sieve with powdered sugar in it, ready to sprinkle when the souffles came out of the oven. 

I had plates ready to serve the souffles on, also.

Total time to cook mine and get them brown enough to be pretty was 11 minutes (I did not use convection…)

I removed the souffles from the oven, sifted powdered sugar over them while still on the baking sheet, then removed them to the plates using a pair of tongs (it’s quick and less trouble if you’ve got a firm grip).