I have been so lazy the past few days- jet lag, catching up with my mom on family gossip, and just the sheer comfort of home where I don’t have to lift a finger for anything (seriously! there’s someone to cook, someone to clean the house, someone to do the laundry) – all of it has made me lazy to blog. The first few days back home, I did nothing- yes, jet lag was a primary reason- with the odd sleeping and waking hours – I was busy orienting myself to the change in time zones.
Thanks to the jet lag, though, I have been regular with my exercise. Up at 3.30 am , I was ready to exercise at 5 as there was nothing else to do. Now, of course the jetlag has more or less worn off, but I still sleep pretty early and am up at an hour which has always been a little early for me, but a good time for me to hit the gym. Since the day I arrived, my mom has been pointing out how much weight I have gained, and this just won’t do. So, I have been working hard and hope to continue doing so. I also resisted buying Nutties, a chocolate I haven’t eaten for over a year and which has always been one of my favorites. I also passed the opportunity for picking a packet of Bingo (a very popular chips packet in India), something that was a staple during my B-school days. Determination! Well, I really do need to get in shape!
I did indulge in a soufflé though. Well, a little leeway is allowed. The thing is- I had to make the soufflé. I had tried making one day before (a spicy dark chocolate one) but it was an utter failure. Mind you, when I made it the first time, I only made enough for my mom and dad and none for me- again determination! And what would you know, that was a flop, and one of the reasons for its failure was that I overfilled the ramekins, trying to avoid filling a third one for me!
I could have written about the other reasons for failing at soufflé making, but decided against sheltering under excuses, because I believe a good baker should be able to turn any kitchen environment to his/her advantage. So the next attempt had to be made to prove that I can bake not only at my own house (where I have the luxury of a big oven, the perfect temperature, the right temperature and ingredients) but just about anywhere!
So, I set off to make another soufflé yesterday. All soufflés are made by folding stiffly whipped egg whites into a richly seasoned base, either sweet or savoury, then baking until risen and feather-light. In my last attempt I tried Curtis Stone’s recipe which only uses egg whites and no yolks/cream/milk/flour/butter. This time I decided to try a version which started with a base of roux and lavender-lemon flavored cream folded into the egg whites.
Preparing the dish, some claim, enhances the chances of having a perfectly risen soufflé. Since rising wasn’t a problem in my first attempt, I decided to use Curtis Stone’s way of buttering and sugaring (is that a word?!) the ramekins. He adds melted butter to the bottom of the ramekins and with a brush and upward strokes, butters the sides of the ramekins. Then, he lets the buttered ramekins sit to cool in the refrigerator for 2-3 minutes. Once the butter hardens, he again brushes the sides with melted butter and sprinkles granulated sugar on the bottom and sides of the ramekins. (You can check the video here)
When I told one of my friends of my plans to make a Lavender soufflé, she called me lavender obsessed. As much as I don’t like to admit, but lately I have been on a lavender fetish. I just love the flavor lavender adds to any dish. And, well, lavender with lemon- that is what delish stuff is made of!
Attempt two at soufflés turned out not so bad. I did have one with a cracked top, but the other three rose just fine and behaved themselves for me to take a few pictures with their puffed tops (although, they did sink a bit by the time I got them ready for the shot).
LEMON & LAVENDER SOUFFLÉ
Adapted from here, (fills 4 100ml ramekins)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp flour
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 20 ml milk
- 100 ml cream
- 1 tbsp lavender
- zest of 1 lemon
- Melted butter and granulated sugar for the ramekins
- Preheat oven to 200° C ( I heated mine to 180°C since I was using a smaller oven and it does heat up more. Since the original recipe calls for 200 C, I have mentioned that but you might have to adjust)
- Prepare the dishes as explained above.
- Heat cream, caster sugar, milk, lavender and lemon zest in a saucepan on medium-low till it comes to a slow boil. Remove from heat and keep covered for 15-20 min. Strain out lavender.
- Melt the butter and stir in flour. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Whisk in the lavender-lemon infused cream gradually. Return to heat and bring to a boil. Keep stirring.
- Whisk in the egg yolk to flour mixture gradually.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Fold in the flour mixture gently, trying not to deflate the egg whites.
- Pour into the ramekins. (From personal experience, I do not fill the ramekins completely- leaving about some space for them to rise)
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar (or lavender sugar) and serve immediately