SERVES 6-8 When we make soufflés, we can’t help but think of Julia Child. Inspired by her classic recipe, we begin with a sauce bouilli, a thickened mixture of milk, sugar, and flour, which makes them especially delicate. Light and airy with just a hint of lemon, they can be adapted using orange juice and zest or vanilla.
90 gm white sugar
300 ml milk
30 gm unbleached flour
4 large egg yolks
3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
6 large eggwhites
Pure icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 205°C. Butter the insides of eight individual 1-cup ramekins or one large 1.4-litre soufflé mould. Using 2 tbsp of sugar, sprinkle the insides of the ramekins, tapping to remove any excess. Place ramekins on an oven tray.
Whisk milk, flour and 50gm white sugar in a saucepan until well-combined. Place over medium-high heat and cook, whisking continuously, until mixture thickens and comes to the boil (about 3 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl and cool briefly (2-3 minutes).
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking until fully incorporated before adding the next yolk. While the mixture is still warm, add the butter, lemon zest and lemon juice, and whisk until fully combined.
In a large, very clean, preferably copper bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), beat eggwhites, remaining 1 tbsp sugar and ⅛ tsp salt with a balloon whisk until firm peaks form. Stir a large spoonful of whipped eggwhite into the soufflé base to begin lightening it, then using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining eggwhite, leaving some white streaks in the soufflé mixture and working quickly to keep the base light and airy.
Pour the finished mixture into the prepared ramekins, filling them to just below the rim. Run your thumb around the inside edge of the moulds to remove any smears and ensure a proper lift. Bake until the tops of the soufflés are golden brown and lifted about 5cm above tops of the ramekins (15-18 minutes; 25-30 minutes for the large soufflé mould). Do not be tempted to open the oven during baking or the soufflés will fall. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.