This skillet souffle is made in a skillet, making it easier and less tricky than a traditional souffle since you don’t need a fancy baking dish. Serve the dessert right from the pan at the table. Simple and perfect.
The words of practical advice in the recipe below from the awesomely analytical minds over at Cook’s Illustrated is exactly the sort of critical left-brained commentary we’ve come to expect from them. Yet it doesn’t exactly explain anything about why you’d want to make this recipe. Allow us. For starters, there’s the lovely lilt of lemon, the aw-shucks-I-just threw-it-together weeknight-friendly appeal, the fact that it requires a plain old skillet in place of a fussy souffle dish…shall we go on?–Renee Schettler Rossi
Skillet Lemon Soufflé
- 5 large eggs separated
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
- 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon, preferably organic
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and adjust an oven rack to the middle position.
- Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, about 1 minute. Slowly add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the salt and then increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Gently transfer the whites to a clean bowl.
- Using the electric mixer (no need to wash the bowl), beat the yolks and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar on medium-high speed until pale and thick, about 1 minute. Beat in the lemon juice, zest, and flour until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
- Fold 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into the yolk mixture until almost no white streaks remain. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until just incorporated.
- Melt the butter in a 10-inch ovenproof (not nonstick) skillet over medium-low heat. Using a 10-inch skillet is essential to getting the right texture and height in the lemon souffle. Swirl the pan to coat it evenly with the melted butter, then gently scrape the lemon souffle batter into the skillet and cook over medium-low heat until the edges begin to set and bubble slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the souffle until puffed, the center jiggles slightly when shaken and the surface is golden, 7 to 11 minutes. Don't open the oven door during the first 7 minutes of baking this souffle, but do check the souffle regularly for doneness during the final few minutes of baking. Be ready to serve the souffle immediately after removing it from the oven. Using a potholder (the skillet handle will be hot), carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Dust the soufflé with the confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.
Chocolate-Orange SouffleGrating the chocolate fine is key here; we find it easiest to use either a rasp grater or the fine holes of a box grater. Follow the recipe, substituting 1 tablespoon grated zest from 1 orange (preferably organic) for the lemon zest and 1/3 cup orange juice for the lemon juice. Gently fold 1 ounce finely grated bittersweet chocolate (about 1/2 cup) into the souffle batter after incorporating all of the whites.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Lemony, light deliciousness. That is what this skillet lemon souffle delivered. It was light, airy, and bursting with the flavor of lemons. (For us, Meyer lemons.)
The recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar to be mixed in with the egg whites. I researched some other souffle recipes and found ones that don’t call for cream of tartar. Since my cream of tartar is eons old, I didn’t want to use it. I left it out, and can’t think how the cream of tartar could have made this any better.
Despite wanting to keep eating, we refrigerated a small portion of the souffle, thinking that it probably wasn’t going to work as a leftover. The next morning our souffle was a bit more like a (very fallen) piece of light lemon cake. It was delicious! Just writing about this makes me want to go directly into the kitchen and make another soufflé. I bought more eggs today so I can do just that. Right now.
Originally published July 11, 2018