Last Sunday after a delicious grilled steak dinner, someone at the table said, “A lemon souffle would be great right now.” I briefly considered whipping one up, but immediately thought better of it and broke out some chocolate bars and ice cream. But the lemon souffle stuck in my head, and by Monday evening, I had to have one. After picking up various kids from various places, I got home, put dinner in front of them and set to work.
As I assembled the ingredients I came to a disturbing realization: the lemons in my fruit bowl were long past their prime and their rind was in no shape to provide the fresh citrus-y zest needed for this dessert. So I moved to plan B: Vanilla souffle.
I had made this lemon souffle cake many times before–it’s pretty simple, aside from the water bath cooking requirement, which is a bit of a pain. It serves 6 sensibly or 4 gluttonously, and is delightful with berries. I figured it would easily translate into vanilla, and I was right. I followed the recipe to a T, with the following substitution: omit lemon zest and juice; instead scrape the insides of 1 1/2 vanilla beans into a bowl, and add 2 tsp vanilla extract. The verdict: delicious. It was not as refreshing as the lemon, lacking that citrus lightness, but had a delightfully rich vanilla custard feel, which fit the bill on a rainy summer evening.
Following the recipe in the above link, here’s a pictorial step by step:
Vanilla beans w/ egg, milk, flour, sugar….
Whip egg whites til stiff: