cold lemon cream soufflé

from Rose's Celebrations, William Morrow, 1992
I am thrilled with this recipe. It is lifting, refreshing and intensely lemony yet mellow and creamy at the same time. Heating the meringue with the hot sugar syrup results in an extraordinary voluptuous texture. If you wish to make the soufflé less rich, it can be prepared with half the cream or with no cream at all and still be delicious. This is a fabulous dessert for entertaining as it freezes perfectly for several weeks so it can be made well ahead.

  • 1 liquid cup heavy cream
  • Lemon Curd
  • 4 large eggs, separated yolks and whites to be reserved
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 oz) sugar
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 fluid oz or 6 tbsp. finely squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp. (2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • Light Italian Meringue
  • 1 1/4 tsp. powdered gelatin
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • reserved egg whites, see above
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. (6 oz) sugar
  • 1/4 liquid cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Equipment: One 8 cup decorative mold (or a 6 cup decorative mold and wine goblets or dessert dishes for the 1 1/2 cups remaining mixture), lightly sprayed with non-stick vegetable shortening or lightly oiled (Tupperware makes an excellent 6 cup mold with an upper lid to release the suction, which makes unmolding a dream). In a large mixing bowl place the heavy cream and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes (Chill the beater alongside the bowl.)

Lemon Curd
Have ready near the range a strainer, suspended over a medium bowl which contains the lemon zest. In a heavy noncorrodible saucepan beat the yolks and sugar until well blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the lemon zest. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and resembling hollandaise sauce, which thickly coats a wooden spoon but is still liquid enough to pour. The mixture will change from translucent to opaque and begin to take on a yellow color on the back of a wooden spoon. It must not be allowed to boil or it will curdle. Whenever steam appears, remove the pan briefly from the heat, stirring constantly, to keep the mixture from boiling. When the curd has thickened, pour it at once into the strainer. Press with the back of a spoon until only coarse residue remains. Discard the reside (or consider it the cook's dividend!). Stir to mix in the zest to allow the lemon curd to cool completely. When the lemon curd is cooled, beat the cream only until the cream mounds softly when dropped from a spoon. Add the lemon curd and with a whisk or rubber spatula, fold the 2 together until completely uniform. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Pointers for Success for the Lemon Curd
For finely grated zest, use a zester (a small implement with tiny scaping holes), a vegetable peeler or fine grater to remove the yellow portion only. The white pith beneath is bitter. If using the zester or peeler, finish by chopping the zest with a sharp knife. If a lemon is heated (about 10 seconds in a microwave oven on high power) and rolled around while pressing on it lightly, it will release a significantly greater quantity of juice. To prevent curdling, be sure to mix the sugar with the yolks before adding the lemon juice. Use a heavy, noncorrodible pan which conducts heat evenly or a double boiler. To further prevent curdling, do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove the curd immediately from the heat when thickened and strain at once as the residual heat in the pan will raise the temperature. (If you are working with an accurate thermometer*, the temperature of the thickened curd will be 196 F.)

Light Italian Meringue
Have ready a 1 cup heat-proof liquid measure by the range. In a small heatproof measuring cup, place the gelatin and water and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Set the cup in a pan of simmering water for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the gelatin is dissolved. (This can also be done in a few seconds in a microwave on high power, stirring once or twice.) In a small heavy saucepan, preferably with non-stick lining, stir together the 3/4 cup sugar and the 1/4 cup of water until the sugar is completely moistened. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring and turn down the heat to the lowest setting. (If using an electric range remove it from the heat.) In a mixing bowl, using the whisk beater, beat the egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Increase the heat and boil the syrup until a thermometer registers 248 F to 250 F (firm-ball stage). Immediately pour into the glass measure to stop the cooking. If using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the syrup into the whites in a steady stream, avoiding the beaters to keep syrup from spinning onto the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, pour a small amount of syrup over the whites with the mixer off. Immediately beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Stop the mixer and add a larger amount of syrup. Beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Continue with the remaining syrup. With the last addition use a rubber scraper to remove the syrup clinging to the measure. Lower the speed to medium, add the gelatin mixture and beat at medium speed until cool (about 2 minutes). Use a large balloon whisk or rubber spatula to fold the Italian meringue into the lemon cream mixture in 3 parts. Spoon into the mold. Tap the mold on a counter to help settle the mixture and prevent the large air bubbles at the bottom. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or freeze. Remove from the freezer to the refrigerator at least 6 hours before serving. To unmold: chill the presentation plate. Moisten the plate with water so that it will be easy to reposition and center the souffl┌. Dip the mold in warm water for 20 seconds. If using the Tupperware mold, remove the large lid and invert it onto the plate. Remove the small upper lid. This releases the suction and the mousse will drop from the mold onto the plate. If using a mold without this upper lid, dip it into the water until the souffle slides when tilted. Release the suction by slipping a long spatula or knife blade between the side of the souffl┌ and the mold, all the way to the top. Keeps: 5 days refrigerated, 6 weeks frozen

Pointers for Success for the Italian Meringue
The syrup for the Italian meringue must not get hotter than 250 F or the whites will not incorporate air and thicken. * Accurate thermometers can be found at New York Cake & Baking Distributors 800-942-2539 or La Cuisine 800-521-1176.
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