Successful soufflés are notoriously difficult to achieve, or at least that is the common consensus. Being a bit of a baking wimp, I had never attempted one before, as I thought they would take ages to make, require very precise timings and oven temperatures (and my oven is so temperamental that even "easy" things sometimes go all pear shaped, or watermelon-shaped, or pretty-much-anything-shaped!) and in general are too much hassle for the amount of enjoyment you get out of them. That was before I came across this recipe for an "easy" version of a classic lemon soufflé, with an added alcoholic twist.
Now Limoncello is one of those things that I really really love. I'm not a huge alcohol fan (at least not "in a drinking in a glass kinda way", we'll talk later about the "in a baking/cooking kinda way") but this is one of my all-time alcoholic favourites. It also somehow represents summer in my head, it's definitely not something I would have in the winter, it just says "sun, sun, sun, sitting on a patio, being on an island or lost in an alley somewhere in Italy". Having been confined to not-so-sunny London without a single day of holiday in the last 6 months, my withdrawal-symptom count is high, and as an islander I try to steal every bit of sunshine I can, even when it's in the form of a small, partially inflated Limoncello soufflé! True to its name, this is quick, easy, and works, although by the time I managed to take some good photos my little pots had deflated a little. Keep in the fridge until the time to serve, then pop in the oven and EAT IMMEDIATELY! They're extremely light and airy, and lovely for a warm summer evening...
Source: Sainsbury's magazine (December 2007)
- A little butter, for greasing
- 325g jar lemon curd (buy the best quality you can find)
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp Limoncello liqueur
- Some icing sugar, sifted, for dusting
Preheat oven to 200°C. Generously butter the ramekins or dishes and put them on a baking tray in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, warm the lemon curd with the lemon zest, then remove from the heat. In a large clean bowl whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff, then whisk in the sugar, half at a time, until glossy. Mix the Limoncello into the lemon curd, then gradually fold it into the egg whites.
Spoon the mixture into the dishes and smooth off using a spatula. Run the end of a teaspoon around the inside rim of each dish − this helps the soufflés to rise evenly. Bake them for 12 minutes, dust them with icing sugar and serve immediately.