Monday, April 21, 2014

Lemon souffles!

Martha Stewart magazines are probably the original Pinterest. Full of too perfect crafts and foods with instructions that always seem easy enough until you're in the middle of them. But the outcome is too irresistible to pass up so despite knowing better, you think 'well maybe this one will be different' and try it anyways.

Anywho, this happened to me this week when I came across a link to a Martha recipe from a few years back. This one.  Lemme just put this in here. If you have any little cuts on your hands, or hangnails, Do Not Try This. Or if you can't resist, do yourself a favor and wear gloves. In all my years working with lemony flavored desserts and such, I have never ended up quite this coated in lemon juice.

But let's get on with it! The amount of soufflé this makes is enough to fill eight large lemons, but if you don't want that many you can always bake some in small ramekins like I did.

You'll need:
8 large lemons
3 eggs - separated
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
Powdered sugar for dusting

Step one, prep your lemons. Wash them. You'll be eating out of them so really it just makes sense. Next, cut off the nubby end of the lemons so they can sit upright without assistance.

Make another cut at the top of your lemon, parallel to the first, so you can scoop out all the insides.

Now the tricky part. Hint: this is where you get covered in lemon juice. Scoop out the insides. The Martha recipe recommends a melon baller or a grapefruit spoon. Hah! A grapefruit spoon may have worked but I don't have any. What I ended up doing was using a very sharp knife, I cut around the opening between the lemon flesh and the pith about an inch deep. Then I used the melon baller to scoop that out and to gouge the rest out. The inside wasn't pretty but the top lip was and that's what matters right?

Here's what they looked like after being scraped out. Make sure to get all the seeds out!

Also, save the innards by scraping them into a sieve over a bowl. You want that lemon juice!

I'm sure it's pictures like these that started the trend of only showing the finished product rather than the process. Lemon guts just aren't very pretty.

Now that your shells are prepped, it is time to make the soufflé. In a heat-proof mixer bowl, beat together (on medium) the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice you saved, and the flour using a whisk attachment. After a few minutes it should be a pale yellow.

Like so. Place the mixer bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly for eight minutes. The mixture should get quite thick. Put it back on the mixer and whisk until it has cooled down, scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Transfer it to a medium sized bowl. It should look like this when you're done.

Next up, in a clean mixer bowl, combine the egg whites and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place this mixture over the pan of simmering water and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm. Don't over-do it or the egg whites will start to cook.

Put it on the mixer and whisk on low speed until frothy. Then increase the speed and whisk until it is shiny and holds soft peaks. Stir about 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture, blending well. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Place your prepared lemon shells on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Fill them carefully to just below the brim.

Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 14-16 minutes, or until the soufflé has risen about an inch and the tops are just starting to tan.

Here you can see I didn't fill them all evenly, oops! But you can also just see the two ramekins in the background so that shows how much this makes aprox.

And now the fun sugar dusting part.

Aww, so pretty.

So these are relatively simple once you get past the scooping out of the lemon innards part. And so so so delicious. I think I like them better then lemon bars! The only thing that could make them better is a shortbread cookie stuck in the top.

The top part has a very slightly crisped coating, like when you roast marshmallows and peel off just the outside layer. Then the part inside the lemon is extremely juicy from being baked in lemon juice. You need a spoon to eat these, and you might find yourself picking up the lemon peel and drinking any juice you couldn't get.

So go forth and bake! And then report back and tell me I'm not the only one who covered my kitchen in lemon :P

Monday, April 14, 2014

Grad school

I mentioned just the other day that I was waiting on one last graduate school response letter and of course I got it the day after I said something about it. Isn't that how it always seems to work?! Anyways, I applied to four schools this year and received four no answers with varying degrees of explanation, a couple of them quite informative and helpful. Such is life I suppose, nothing to do but to try again next year. And I did learn that while the degree that I want is costume design, the school that I want ideally will also offer a good variety of costume production and crafts courses as well.

I'm really not looking forward to writing admissions essays again though.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Costumes and Legos. Story of my life.

I think I probably mentioned a while back that I was costuming some shows this spring and I'm thrilled to report that the first one is opening this week! Even though it ended up being mostly just alteration work, I had a good time working on this first show, Life is a Dream but it did result in tears a couple of times. I find that to be pretty normal. Stress levels go up and tears come down. I doesn't help that I'm still waiting for a response from one of the grad schools I applied to.

As much fun as the first show was to work on though, I'm excited to see it go and to start in on the next one, Don Juan in Chicago. Because, well, I get to make fun silly things like panniers and a collar ruff and other such nonsense. I enjoy making silly things, and I get to work with some really lovely people too. Very obliging actors who will make the most of ridiculous costumes!

On a different note, my son and I went to the Lego store the other week and I made our family out of legos. Wanna see?

Of course you do.

My hubby there is holding what is supposed to be a briefcase but we're pretending it's a laptop. Much more accurate for him. Little man there in the middle with a popsicle, and me on the right with a coffee cup. Perfect! I even own pants that color, hehe.

Ok, ttfn. No idea if there will be a sweet this month or not. Probably not, but I'll try to come back in a timely fashion and share some costume progress pictures!