These no-bake chilled lemon souffles are so airy and light tasting! I love Meyer lemons and couldn’t wait to finally see them in the market this year so I could share this dessert with you. They give the souffles such a complex, floral flavor which pairs well with the vanilla and raspberries. Yum! And I love that they can be made ahead of time and pulled out when it’s time for dessert.
For some reason I really enjoy lighter, but still creamy desserts layered with raspberries this time of year! Last year I made Raspberry and Ricotta Parfaits and this year I have raspberry and Meyer lemon souffles.
I don’t make dessert souffles very often, because I’m usually not interested in doing much in the way of complex cooking at the end of a lovely meal. I just want to relax and enjoy something sweet and ignore the dishes. 🙂
Is that just me?
I don’t think so!
So, when I do make a souffle, it’s one where I can do the work ahead of time. At least make the batter, which I can just pop in the oven (I am up to that much work!), or as with these chilled lemon souffles, get it all done earlier in the day.
I do especially love having it all done early, which means I’ve been making these souffles for several years now. I wanted a light and lemony dessert without a lot of fussing and it seemed a perfect idea to combine a lemon custard with whipped egg whites and whipped cream. It’s unfortunately not vegetarian since it does contain gelatin, so don’t serve it to any vegetarian guests without modifications! But for us non vegetarians, it is a very tasty way to end a meal.
While you can also make the souffles with regular lemon juice (and it’s very nice if you want a tart dessert), I love them with Meyer lemons. So, I was totally excited over Christmas when I saw a bin of beautiful Meyer lemons at the market.
It took me all of a few seconds to fill up a big bag of lemons and start planning recipes. 🙂
Meyer lemons are less tangy and more sweet than standard lemons and their zest has a rather floral flavor which is hard to describe unless you’ve smelled it. I will say it doesn’t smell like what you expect and you’re not going to get that zesty lemon oil smell. I find that Meyer lemons give dishes a more complex and subtle flavor, which I think is a lot of fun and it makes things interesting to play with different flavors.
There isn’t much going on this time of year as far as produce but at least we have citrus!
A few notes about the recipe:
- First, as I said, you can use standard lemons, though you will have a much tarter flavor. Increase the sugar by 2 tablespoons.
- Second, the souffles need to be made ahead so they can set, but they are best eaten the same day since they stiffen up more as time goes by. You can reduce the gelatin by 1/4 tsp if you want to make them the day ahead. That does help, though they will be rather soft to start.
- Third, any berry you have on hand – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. – will be a great addition to the souffles.
– Happy Meyer lemon season, Annemarie
- 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice from 4-5 lemons
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tsp gelatin
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar divided
- 3 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cornstarch
- 3 large egg whites room temperature
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup raspberries or other berries, such as blueberries, strawberries or blackberries
- confectioners' sugar
The souffles can made in one large bowl (and then scooped out into servings), layered into parfait glasses with raspberries, or spooned into 4 4-oz ramekins. If you choose to serve them in ramekins (as seen the photos), you will need to make foil collars for the ramekins. Cut off four pieces of foil, each long enough to fit around the edge of the ramekins and about 9 inches wide. Then fold the foil over twice so it is 3 inches wide. Circle the ramekin and tape the foil in place. Spray or rub the inside of the foil collar with vegetable oil.
In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice and lemon zest. Sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon juice and set aside.
Make an ice water bath in a container large enough to fit your medium bowl.
Heat the milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the milk is hot and beginning to steam and the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. While you are waiting for the milk, whisk together the egg yolks, 2 tbsp of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Keep whisking until the mixture is light yellow and thick, about 2 minutes. Once the milk is done, gradually pour the milk into the yolks while whisking the yolks constantly. Add about half the milk this way. Then begin pouring and whisking the milk and yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Continue whisking as you heat the custard until it thickens to coat a spoon and reaches 185F on a thermometer, 5-6 minutes. Strain the mixture back into the medium bowl and then stir in the lemon juice and gelatin. Place the custard into the ice bath to cool to about 95F.
Using either a hand mixture or standing mixer, beat the egg whites on medium high until foamy. Then add the cream of tartar and the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar and continue beating until the egg whites hold soft peaks. (They should hold a good peak but curl over at the top.) Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cooled custard. Then fold the remaining whites until nearly combined.
In the same mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat the heavy cream on medium high until it holds soft peaks. Fold the cream into the custard until fully combined. Spoon the souffle mixture into the prepared ramekins, or parfait glasses, or large serving dish. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours. Top with berries and confectioners' sugar and serve.
- Since the souffles contain gelatin, they are not vegetarian.
- If you want to make the souffles more than 6-8 hours ahead (such as the day before), reduce the gelatin by 1/4 teaspoons to 1 1/4 teaspoons gelatin.
- To make the souffles with standard lemons, increase the sugar by 2 tablespoons. So, you will add 6 tablespoons instead of 4 tablespoons to the milk in step 4.