I should really call this “Bavarian Cream Soufflé,” as this recipe is technically for a Bavarian cream. Just after being made, the Bavarian cream is poured into a collared soufflé dish and placed in the refrigerator to set. Once the cream has set, the collar is removed from the soufflé dish, leaving a thick layer of the cream rising above the dish. Presented thusly, this Bavarian cream looks every inch a risen soufflé – with the added bonus that it won’t deflate! (My soufflé dish was too large to achieve the full-on effect of a risen soufflé – rats! See the note just below the “Method” heading.)
Though labeled “Key Lime,” the choice of flavouring for this dish is yours. Use 3/4 cup of juice from whatever fruit you choose. Purée enough fruit to yield 3/4 cup juice (remember that the volume of the puréed fruit will decrease once seeds and pulp are strained out); strain out any pulp and seeds; and incorporate the juice into the recipe as directed. The base amount of sugar called for in the recipe is 3/4 cup; increase or decrease the amount of sugar to suit the fruit you are using. For example, I added 2 TBS sugar to the recipe to compensate for the extreme tartness and bitterness that make key lime juice so well known. (An extra TBS wouldn’t have gone awry, either.) For a lemon version, I would use exactly 3/4 cup sugar, while for a strawberry version, I would use 3/4 cup minus one or two TBS sugar.
The texture of this “soufflé” is swoon-worthy: smooth, creamy, thick, tenaciously clingy. The whipped cream adds just the right amount of silkiness and balances out the overall flavours. Next time I make this, I’m going to use this white chocolate whipped cream. The chocolate garnish adds a nice crunchy element to the dessert’s softness, and complements the fruit flavour wonderfully.
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Cold Key Lime Soufflé
Yield: Serves 6
For the soufflé:
3/4 cup key lime juice (OR juice from 3 freshly squeezed lemons; 1 lemon yields about 1/4 cup juice)
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup + 2 TBS sugar (omit extra 2 TBS sugar if making lemon version)
1 packet unflavoured gelatin
5 TBS water
1 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped until stiff peaks have formed
For the garnish:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 – 4 TBS maple syrup OR 1/3 cup powdered sugar, for sweetening cream
grated chocolate (I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips; a candy bar broken into pieces would also work well)
The look of a risen soufflé can only be achieved when using either a 1 1/2 quart soufflé dish, or six to eight 8-oz. ramekins. Instructions for making a parchment paper collar, which allows the Bavarian cream to set at a higher level than the uncollared dish would permit, are found in the following paragraph. A 2 quart soufflé dish may be used, though bear in mind that such a dish is too large for the Bavarian cream to “rise” above the dish; you will have to settle for the beautiful, smooth, flat top of a classic Bavarian cream. If you wish, ramekins can also be used without collars.
Fold a sheet of parchment paper in half, and then wrap it around the outside of a 1 1/2 quart soufflé dish (or six 8-oz. ramekins). It should extend 3 inches higher than the lip of the dish. Staple the top and bottom of the parchment paper tightly. Place the parchment-wrapped soufflé dish onto a baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill. (If not using a collar, a baking sheet is not necessary.)
Place the key lime juice, egg yolks, and sugar in a large non-reactive mixing bowl that will fit snugly on a pan of boiling water. Whisk the ingredients until combined. Place the mixing bowl atop the pan of boiling water and heat for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is hot to the touch, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat. Whisk with an electric mixer until the mixture is cool.
Soften the gelatin in the water and warm the mixture just enough to dissolve the gelatin. Whisk the gelatin mixture into the key lime juice mixture.
Combine the cream and maple syrup or powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Whip (by hand or with an electric mixer) until stiff peaks have formed. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff but still moist. Whisk the key lime mixture into the egg whites. Add the cream all at once to the egg white / key lime juice mixture, and, using an electric mixer or whisk, vigorously beat the mixture until fully incorporated and smooth.
Pour mixture into the soufflé dish (or dishes), making sure it comes at least 1 inch above the lip of the dish and is touching the parchment (if using a 1 1/2 quart dish). Gently move the baking sheet into the refrigerator without touching either the soufflé dish or the parchment paper. (As my soufflé dish was too large to bother with collaring, I didn’t bother with the baking sheet either, and simply moved the soufflé dish into the refrigerator with my bare hands. The soufflé was fine. I rather think it was happy not to be pampered.) Refrigerate at least 6 hours; overnight is better. Carefully peel off the parchment paper (if using) and discard.
Garnish the soufflé with the whipped cream and chocolate. Serve.
Source: Slightly adapted from Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen by Darren McGrady, 2007