So you did what I told you to and picked wild violets, right? Then you’re all ready to get started on this recipe.
What? No violets? Never fear, this souffle tastes great without them too. Or you can throw in some berries if you like – blueberries are a perfect match, but raspberries or strawberries would be nice too. But if you’ve got violets, it makes a stunning presentation. As a bonus, they’re high in iron and vitamins A and C. The flavor is very delicate, and hard to describe – lightly floral, slightly lemony. Violets have been used by gourmet cooks for centuries, when ancient Greeks and Romans made violet wine and used the flowers for syrups, salads and other recipes. Even the leaves are edible, but like I said in my last post, make sure you pick them in a place that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides.
This is one of those cold souffles that is really a mousse. Easy to make ahead of time and store in the fridge until serving and perfect for Mother’s Day.
Here’s the recipe:
Lemon-Violet Souffle (makes 6 servings)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
grated rind of 1 1/2 lemons
1 cup heavy cream
fresh or candied violets
Sprinkle gelatin on cold water to soften. Combine egg yolks, 1/2 cup of the sugar, salt, lemon juice and rind in the top of a double boiler. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly until slightly thick and custardy. This is what it will look like at this point:
Stir in the gelatin and cool. Keep checking because if you let it get too cold, it will gel completely and then you’ve got to reheat again and let it cool again. (Guess who goofed up here and had to reheat again.)
Beat the egg whites until they hold shape, then add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until mixture forms peaks. Whip the cream until it holds shape and fold in the violets, maybe about 1/4 cup or so:
Pour mixture into a souffle dish and chill two to three hours. The recipe fills a four-cup souffle dish completely, but if you want it to look extra tall and sit above the rim of the souffle dish, choose a smaller dish (I used two individual souffle cups) and tape a wax-paper collar around the top edge. The mixture is sufficiently dense and will not dribble down the sides if you tape the collar tightly enough. Remove the wax paper collar before serving.
Just look at this creamy texture.
Serve in pretty stemware. I drizzled some of my violet jelly on top.