To make these individual soufflés sturdy, Maria Helm Sinskey uses choux pastry (the dough for gougères and profiteroles) mixed with airy meringue and ricotta. While the inside is nicely custardy, the edges and sides are deliciously crisp. The soufflés, which have a lovely, not-too-sweet lemon flavor, can be served hot, warm, or cool, when they become like mini citrus cakes.
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6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter four 10-ounce ramekins and dust generously with granulated sugar.
In a medium saucepan, bring the softened butter, the water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour all at once. Cook over moderate heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat at medium speed for 10 seconds. Add the egg yolks one at a time; beat well between additions. Add the lemon zest and juice and Creamy Ricotta and beat at high speed until very smooth and creamy, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Transfer to a large bowl.
Wash and dry the mixer bowl. Add the egg whites, the cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Using the whisk, beat the egg whites at medium high speed until soft peaks form. Add the 1 cup of granulated sugar in a thin stream and beat at high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gently fold the whites into the ricotta dough just until no streaks remain.
Spoon the soufflé mixture into ramekins. Run the blade of a knife over the top so it's level, then run your thumb around the inside rim to help the soufflés rise evenly. Bake the soufflés in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm, risen and deep golden on top. Let cool for 15 minutes. Dust the tops with confectioners' sugar and serve hot or at room temperature.
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