We do not cower at a soufflé around here. We most definitely do not shrink away in fear from a soufflé that is called a Lemon Soufflé and which is served with Lavender Shortbread. No indeed dear friends, brave and bold cooks that you are, we must insist on running towards such things. With great haste.
Last year our little dinner club dined at Bertus Basson’s restaurant Overture at Hidden Valley Wines in Stellenbosch. The menu was what I might describe as a fresh approach to South African food and flavours. The stand out course for me that night was the without a doubt the dessert.
As part of the three course menu, I chose for dessert a Milk Tart Soufflé which arrived alongside a cinnamon ice cream, bearing the weight of which was a crunchy milk tart pastry / shortbread crumble.
The soufflé, warm and delicate bore the heritage flavour of milk tart which was as comforting and familiar as the smell of the milk tart table at a small town fete. It could move expats to tears; a milk tart soufflé that tastes of old school custard, a hint of cinnamon and exciting culinary talent in South Africa.
(Blogger Karisa over at Cape Town My Love wrote this post on her experience at Overture, eating from the same menu as we did. She shares some awesome photographs of the rest of the menu and of course the magnificent views from Overture during the day.)
When a soufflé leaves such a lasting impression it is not unexpected then that you would want to make some soufflé magic of your own. I have made this Butternut, Leek and Rice Soufflé and this Cheese Soufflé on the blog before, but I decided that I wanted something sweet to work my magic on. If life gives you lemons – which it did quite literally – make a Lemon soufflé.
I would quite like to say that I achieved magic. Fully intended. This soufflé tastes like a warm lemon meringue pie. Unintended but most welcome. I added the Lavender Shortbread after I made this recipe the first time as I felt it lacked a little crunch to offer some resistance to the inherent softness of the soufflé.
I consider this dessert a job well done.
- 200 g flour
- 100 g corn flour
- 100 g castor sugar
- 200 g butter
- 65 ml (¼ C) fresh lavender
- To sprinkle: caster sugar
- to prepare soufflé dishes: softened butter and sugar
- 8 eggs, separated
- 30 ml (2 T) cake flour
- 100 + 30 ml (½ C + 1 t) castor sugar
- 250 ml (1 C) milk
- 65 ml (¼ C) fresh lemon juice
- 30 ml (2 T) butter
- 15 ml (1 T) fine lemon rind
- 1 ml (¼ t) salt
- To make the Lavender Shortbread, sieve the flour, corn flour, castor sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Add the butter and process until the mixture comes together to resemble breadcrumbs.
- Add picked lavender leaves to taste.
- Press the dough into a baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Bake the shortbread in an oven that has been preheated to 180˚C for 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with remaining lavender leaves and extra caster sugar.
- Cut into pieces.
- Allow to cool completely.
- To prepare the soufflé dishes, brush butter in upward strokes around the sides and bottom of the ramekins. Dust evenly with sugar tipping out any excess sugar.
- Mix together the egg yolks, cake flour and 30 ml (2 T) of caster sugar in a bowl.
- In a medium saucepan heat together the milk, lemon juice and butter.
- Pour the hot milk over the egg yolk mixture and strain back into the saucepan.
- Add the lemon rind and cook over low heat until thickened.
- Leave to cool slightly.
- Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer with the salt until soft peak stage.
- Gradually add the remaining caster sugar until the meringue is firm and glossy.
- Lightly fold the meringue in thirds into the lemon custard.
- Pour the soufflé mixture into the ramekins and smooth out the tops.
- Run your thumb around the inside rim of the ramekin. (This will allow the soufflé mixture to rise cleanly and evenly during cooking.)
- Bake the soufflés in an oven that has been preheated to 180˚C for 20 minutes or until the soufflés are well risen and golden.
- Serve immediately with a slice of lavender shortbread.