It has finally arrived…the infamous Souffle!
I knew at some point during JC100 this recipe was going to show up in our inbox, and though slightly terrified, I was very excited to try my hand at it! Now I’ve gotta have a little sympathy for the poor old souffle, it’s gotten a pretty bad rep as being a difficult dish to make, but it really is quite simple and I can happily say mine turned out wonderfully! (Admittedly, I have never had a souffle, but after researching a little I think the flavours and textures were spot on!)
Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
- 2 Tbs finely grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
- 2½ Tbs butter
- 3 Tbs flour
- 1 Cup hot milk
- Seasonings: ½ tsp paprika, speck of nutmeg, ½ tsp salt, 3 grinds of white pepper
- 4 egg yolks
- 5 egg whites (2/3 cup)
- ¼ Tsp cream of tartar (add to egg whites)
- 1 cup (3½ ounces) coarsely grated Swiss cheese
Special equipment suggested:
A buttered baking dish 7½ – 8 inches top diameter, 3 inches deep; aluminum foil; a heavy-bottomed 2½ quart saucepan; a wire whisk, wooden spoon, and large rubber spatula; egg-white beating equipment.
Preliminaries. Roll the grated cheese (your parmesan) in the buttered baking dish to cover the bottom and side, and fasten on the aluminum collar. Preheat the oven to 400°F, and set the rack in the lower third level. Measure out all the ingredients listed.
The white sauce – Bechamel. Melt the butter over moderate heat. Stir and cook the butter and flour together in the saucepan for 2 minutes without coloring. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, then pour in all the hot milk and whisk vigorously to blend. Return to heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, and boil slowly 3 minutes. The sauce will be very thick. Whisk in the seasonings, and remove from heat.
Finishing the sauce base. One by one, whisk the egg yolks into the hot sauce.
The egg whites. In a clean separate bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites for 30 seconds until foaming, add your cream of tartar, and continue to beat until stiff shining peaks are achieved.
Finishing the souffle mixture. Scoop a quarter of the egg whites on top of the sauce and stir them in with a wooden spoon. Turn the rest of the egg whites on top; rapidly and delicately fold them in, alternating scoops of the spatula with sprinkles of the coarsely grated cheese-adding the cheese now makes for a light souffle.
*Ahead-of-time note: you may complete the souffle to this point ½ hour or so in advance; cover loosely with a sheet of foil and set away from drafts.
Baking-25 to 30 minutes at 400°F and 375°F. Set in the preheated oven, turn the thermostat down to 375°F, and bake until the souffle has puffed 2-3 inches over the rim of the baking dish into the collar, and the top has browned nicely.
Serving. As soon as it is done, remove the collar, then bring the souffle to the table. To keep the puff standing, hold your serving spoon and fork upright and back to back; plunge them into the crust and tear it apart.
Unfortunately the souffle doesn’t stay puffy forever, and begins to settle after about five minutes, but I managed to get a few pictures while it was nice and fluffy!
What you should end up with is a dish that is light and airy, with a golden brown crispy exterior, and a soft, creamy, just cooked interior. This Cheese Souffle was so savoury with the delicious Swiss cheese (I used Gruyere Swiss) in it. I swear it kept tasting better and better the more I ate!
For those who have been afraid to try cooking/baking a souffle, have no fear! It really isn’t that hard! I will definitely be making it again. I can’t wait to try a dessert version!