gingerbread souffles


We have a slew of Christmas movies that we watch every year.  Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Scrooge.  A Muppet Christmas Carol must always be watched on Christmas Eve.  And then there is of course, The Grinch, my favorite and a movie that I think, exemplifies the Christmas spirit.  Those Who’s down in Whoville who come out and sing and don’t even notice that there entire livelihoods have been stolen why they were sleeping.  (Confession: sometimes it makes me a little tearful.)

And we were all set to watch this the other night, in front of the fire, eating these gingerbread souffles, when for some reason no electronic device that we owned would play the DVD, despite the fact that it is in perfect conditions and has absolutely no scratches.  I sat on the couch eating my souffle while Gerrit tried to coerce our x-box and then my computer into playing the disc.  Lesson he learned: souffles do not wait for you.

And these were perfect souffles.  They were airy and creamy (even though I added the custard to the egg whites instead of adding the egg whites to the custard).  And even though the addition of lemon cream on top seemed a little odd even to Gerrit, its bright flavor is exactly what these souffles, full of deep ginger and cinnamon flavor, needed.

So even without our Christmas movie, it was still lovely to eat these warm from the oven in front of the fire.  Which is I think, exactly what the Who’s would have done.  Heck, they would have done it if their electricity was out or their houses had been robbed.  A Christmas lesson to all.

Gingerbread Souffles with Lemon Cream
from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Wait Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes

Makes 8 individual souffles

For the souffles:
Butter or non-stick cooking spray
Granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs, separated

For the lemon cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Use butter or non-stick cooking spray to grease the bottom and sides of 8 (6 oz.) ramekins.  Sprinkle the bottom and sides with granulated sugar evenly to coat the insides, then tap the excess sugar out.  Place the ramekins in a baking dish or pan.  Set aside.
2. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Then whisk in the flour, cooking for 1 minute and whisking constantly.  Add the milk, whisking until thickened (you may need to increase the heat slightly).  Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and stir in the granulated sugar, molasses, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.  Set aside.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are thick and pale.  Gradually add about 1/4 of the hot mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly.  Then add it all back to the rest of the hot mixture.  Return the pan to the heat, and cook over medium heat for 1 minute.  Then remove from heat and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl.
4. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form.
5. Gradually fold the egg whites into the custard mixture.  Then evenly spoon the custard mixture into the ramekins.
6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the custards are set and have risen quite a bit.
7. While they are baking, make the lemon cream.  In a large bowl, beat the whipping cream at medium speed with an electric  mixer until foamy.  Then add the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Beat until soft peaks form.  Set aside.
8. Remove the custards from the oven and serve immediately.  Top with lemon cream and/or powdered sugar, or serve lemon cream on the side.

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