So I've never made a souffle. You hear all the time how temperamental they are and how the smallest alternation in seemingly millions of factors can cause it not to rise, so I've just never wanted to risk the baking heartache. I have visions of pulling the dish from the oven and it turns into a soupy mess; but I dig in with a spoon anyway and sit there, sadly, as I contemplate turning in my apron and baking mits for good.
A dire situation, indeed.
Luckily, I was bailed out by a recently thrifted vintage cookbook: the 1963 McCall's Cook Book, which has a recipe for cold lemon souffles that piqued my interest. Now, let me just warn you that since the weather is hot, my obsession with lemon desserts has begun. It's my absolute favorite flavor in the summer — so fresh and citrus-y — so I apologize in advance (although not really) for the lack of variety that is sure to grace the pages of this blog. :-)
But back to the matter at hand...
These souffles require no baking at all. Just refrigeration, gelatin and some wax paper to give them the right look. So, essentially, they're souffle impostors, but rather tasty ones. And ones that won't break your heart. The original recipe calls for using 4 oz. ramekins; mine are 6 oz., so I just doubled the recipe and it was pretty much perfect for two.
Now, a word on the gelatin. For those of you vegetarians and vegans out there, we do have so alternatives at our disposal that leave our minds at ease. The PETA site has a great list of resources, the easiest of which is finding a kosher gelatin, available at most health food stores (I found some at Whole Foods). But do check the ingredient list, because not all kosher gelatin is vegan.
Another note: When you get to the point in the recipe where the whipped cream, beaten egg whites and the gelatin mixture are to be folded together, do make sure to give the gelatin mixture a good whisk to break it up, otherwise you'll be folding all the air out of the whites and cream you worked so hard to get nice and fluffy.
Ok, now I think it's time to enjoy. ;-)
Cold Lemon Souffles
Courtesy of the McCall's Cook Book (1963)
Makes 2 servings
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons sugar
4 egg yolks, well beaten (save those egg whites!)
2 teaspoons unflavored kosher gelatin
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel (plus more for garnish)
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
4 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
Lightly grease bottoms and sides of two 6 oz. ramekins.
Make paper collars:
For each dish, tear a sheet of waxed paper 12 inches long. Fold lengthwise into thirds; lightly grease one side. With string (I just used some tape), tie collar (buttered side inside) around top of dish, forming a rim 2 inches above the edge.
Heat milk and sugar in a small saucepan just until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat. Gradually add mixture to egg yolks, beating constantly with fork (this is to temper the yolks so they won't curdle, so do add the hot mixture slowly!). Let cool.
Sprinkle gelatin over lemon juice in a custard cup; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set custard cup in a pan of hot water and stir mixture until gelatin dissolves. Stir in lemon peel.
Add gelatin mixture to egg-milk mixture, mixing well. Refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg whites, about 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar at high speed until stiff peaks form when beater is slowly raised.
With rubber scraper, using an under-and-over motion, fold gelatin mixture and whipped cream into egg whites until well combined.
Turn mixture into souffle dishes. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Before serving, gently remove collars. Press nuts against side of each souffle, or sprinkle on top with additional grated lemon peel.
This post is being written on the assumption that some of you are still out there and haven't completely given up hope on me. :)
I know this blog has gradually become less and less frequent over the past several months and, to be honest, it's been a source of frustration for me. I started writing it years ago as something to supplement my Etsy store, but I quickly found that I wanted it to be more than that; to be, in essence, what blogs were originally intended to be: an outlet for sharing tidbits of my life (in particular my love of vintage) with anyone who might want to read about it.
It sounds so simple, right? Just a natural outpouring of things you love, writing about them like you're sharing them with your best friends. But in the past year or so, I have to say I've become a bit disenchanted with the world of blogging, and I've wanted to write this post so many times, but have struggled with how to word it. So here goes...
I used to have a long list of blogs I read on a daily basis because I found inspiration from them. It was fun being exposed to new images, creative DIY projects and the curated collections of other thrifters. Then I started noticing a pattern: posts about sponsorships, product reviews, media kits...and it felt like I was back in the world of publishing! And I guess blogs have become the new source of information (essentially living e-zines), so it makes sense that companies have zeroed in on this as an advertising platform.
But because some blogs have "made it big," have partnerships with coveted companies and are able to make a living from blogging, it's created this culture where it seems that's the reason people most people are starting to write them now. And it just makes me sad, especially after having conversations with people who either write or read blogs and say (and I quote) "I feel bad about myself after reading them," either because they feel they're not stylish enough, creative enough or whatever ways they compare themselves to these online personas who seem to have it all.
And that just makes me go from sad to kind of mad, you know? Mostly because I've been there. I've had my moments of wishing my blog would become known around the world; of coveting the seemingly seamless lives of other bloggers; of wishing I could just get the attention of that trendy company and show them I could be a valuable contributor; and on and on and on.
And that's when I started taking a step back.
For the past several months I've taken some time to rethink why I was keeping a blog, and how I could just strip it down to what I wanted it to be. No planning posts a week (or more) in advance; no feeling like I have to write a post every single day and sacrifice quality for quantity. Just back to the basics: Sharing things from my life as they happen, what's happening on the online and mobile Parsimonia business fronts, recipes the hubs and I are scarfing down, and other bits of randomness as they come up.
So, from here on out, that's what you can expect from me — and I'm really excited about it! I hope that we've connected enough to keep you coming around, even if it's not every day, but if not, that I appreciate the time you have spent reading these posts. :)
To start things off in this new chapter, I thought I'd let you know that I'm going to be fairly absent in the next 11 days (ha!). Some of you might remember I'm organizing an event called Spring Fling in the City on May 11, showcasing local vintage sellers and some handmade sellers that use vintage materials in their creations.
And since this is my first time taking on such an endeavor, I am throwing all of my time in that direction. So if you're local to St. Louis (or nearby) and aren't doing anything that weekend, I would love to meet you and see your smiling faces! If you're busy but know people in the area, please do invite them via the Facebook event page to help spread the word!
And if you've read this whole post, pretend I've just put a smiley face sticker on your shirt. ;-)