Lifestyle & Culture

Kitchen Detail: A Citrus Saga


By Nancy Pollard

After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years—La Cuisine: The Cook’s Resource in Alexandria, Virginia—Nancy Pollard writes Kitchen Detail, a blog about food in all its aspects—recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources, and food-related issues.

last lemon from my lemon treeDURING THE Covid quarantine I had blossoms on my lemon tree and it made me hopeful. Even the recalcitrant lime tree had a few blossoms. When I first got the lime tree, it sported five or six unbelievably fragrant limes. When the in-house bartender took a couple to the kitchen and cut them open to make daiquiris, their fragrance was discernible in the living room. Then for the next three years, we would get three or four blossoms, then perhaps one teeny, tiny lime would start to grow and proceed to fall off. The in-house bartender had threatened this lime tree with extermination if it did not produce, so much so that the KD Editor bought a lime Christmas tree ornament to hang on one of its branches to save it from execution. I think this talisman may have worked, because the lime tree then showed its first two limes even in the midst of a spring filled with downpours and fierce winds.

Dessert for One or Two

cover for Best Of Gourmet 1990But on to the lemon coconut soufflés. I had one lemon left from a recent fall harvest of 16 lemons, the best ever! I left this onelemon coconut souffles on the tree because it took forever to turn yellow.  (Lemons ripen much more slowly inside than when they are outside on the porch.) So, in its honor, I used it for this neat little recipe from The Best of Gourmet 1990. Both the zest and juice are used. I add 1/8 teaspoon of the coconut essence from Grasse to give a bit more coconut flavor. Look through our post on soufflés for some tips on baking them successfully. This is perfect as a treat for two, or even one, with the leftover one for breakfast.

Lemon Coconut Soufflé

Serves 2
Easy-to-make treat when you are home alone. Make the base ahead but serve immediately after baking.
Recipe by the Editors of Gourmet Magazine.
Adapted from The Best of Gourmet 1990.
  1. Butter and extra caster sugar for lining the ramekins
  2. 2 large eggs, separated, preferably at room temperature
  3. 5 tablespoons (74ml) caster sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons (10ml) cornstarch
  5. Grated rind of one lemon
  6. Juice of one lemon (should be around 3 tablespoons or 44ml)
  7. ½ cup (118ml) dried coconut (sweetened or unsweetened), lightly toasted
  8. Pinch of salt
  1. Butter two 6-ounce ramekins, then sprinkle with the extra sugar. Preheat oven to 400F (205C).
  2. In a bowl with your electric mixer, beat the two egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the cornstarch, grated rind, and lemon juice for about 5 minutes,
  3. Fold the toasted coconut into the egg yolk mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are foamy.
  5. Gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar while beating until you achieve a stiff meringue.
  6. Fold the meringue into the yolk mixture, and divide between the two ramekins.
  7. Tap the ramekins on your counter to help the soufflé rise in the oven.
  8. Bake at 400 for about 10-12 minutes. The tops should be puffed and golden.
  9. Serve immediately.
  1. I have used the large 8-ounce soufflé size and the puffed-up soufflés barely reach the top. But any size ramekin from 5 ounces on up, or an ovenproof cup or bowl, will work.
  2. I add 1/8 teaspoon of the coconut essence from Grasse to give a bit more coconut flavor.


This post originally ran in the Kitchen Detail blog.

One thought on “Kitchen Detail: A Citrus Saga

  1. Nancy G says:

    This sounds so good and easy. I haven’t made a soufflé in years, but I’m giving this recipe a go. Thx!

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