So I finally made a Soufflé for the first time(!) thus crossing another item off my Winter Bucket List.
I got an HBC gift card from my brother-in-law for Christmas so on Saturday I went to Home Outfitters to find a soufflé dish to add to my growing collection of bakeware. I scoured all the shelves and all I the closest thing I could find was this round Corningware casserole dish.
It seemed a little bit wider and shallower than a normal soufflé dish (which is smaller in diameter and a bit taller) but I went with it for lack of other options. On the plus side, it rang up at $17 instead of the $39 sticker price (score!).
I decided to go with a recipe from the Keys to the Kitchen cookbook by Aida Mollenkamp.
I won the cookbook a while back in a blog giveaway and every. single. thing. that I’ve made from it (and I’ve made quite a few) has been a hit. I’d highly recommend this book for anyone who needs a broad staple cookbook (slash reference guide) with lots of tips, techniques, and recipes.
There are variations of almost every recipe and tips in the sidebar of each recipe so you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. I love that.
The book has a couple recipes for soufflé—an oatmeal breakfast soufflé and a herbed goat cheese soufflé—of which I tried the latter (though now I really want to try the former as well).
Making this wasn’t as hard or tricky as I thought it would be. I used all the tricks in the book (literally) and others that I read about online to make sure that I didn’t mess anything up.
Mine rose nicely and was light and fluffy. Also it tasted delicious. Absolutely, remarkably delicious.
The only problem, I think, was my soufflé dish. My soufflé came out perfectly cooked everywhere except it was slightly undercooked in the centre. I think maybe the size (slightly larger than what was recommended in the recipe) and shape of the soufflé dish might have had to do with it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
So obviously with one semi-successful soufflé under my belt I’m no expert, but I did do some research before attempting my soufflé so to keep you from having to do all the research yourself, here are some soufflé making tips that I’ve discovered after my extensive reading:
Souffle Making Tips
Separating the Eggs: It’s super important to keep any specks of yolk from getting into the whites. Fresh eggs are key here because they are much easier to separate than old eggs whose membranes have broken down (so the yolk may break into the white when cracked). Cold eggs just out of the refrigerator separate more easily.
Whipping the Eggs: Just when you thought that fresh eggs were better, you learn that the whites from older eggs actually whip up much faster and higher than fresh egg whites. But stick with the fresh eggs because they will produce a foam that is more stable and will hold up better in soufflé-making.
Oh and those cold eggs that you just separated? Get them to room temperature before whipping because they’ll whip up much higher that way.
Finally, make sure the bowl and whisk that you use for whipping are completely clean and dry since any fats or oils will prevent the whites from whipping up nice and high (the same way the yolk specks would).
Folding: Be quick but gentle about folding the whites into the soufflé base.
In Advance: You can generally make the base a few days in advance without sacrificing the outcome of your soufflé as long as you bring it to room temperature before folding in your whites (which should, as mentioned above, also be room temperature)
While Baking: Keep the oven door shut. No peeking!
Rising and Falling: Soufflés have exactly two states of being: rising (as they heat up) and falling (as they cool down). When they’re not rising, they’re falling. So serve this bad boy right away otherwise it, like any other soufflé, will fall. Not that a fallen soufflé won’t be delicious—it will—but it does lose some of it’s oooh-la-la factor.
Okay, so it doesn’t look like much, but it tasted amazing!
Herbed Goat Cheese Souffle
By Aida Mollenkamp Keys to the Kitchen
3 T unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1/3 c. grated Parmigiano cheese
3 T. all purpose flour
1 c. half-and-half cream (I used heavy cream)
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
1 t. sea salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
pinch each of freshly grated nutmeg and cayenne pepper
6 large fresh eggs, separated when cold then brought to room temperature (you will only need 4 of the yolks and all 6 whites)
5 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled.
Heat the oven to 375F, arrange the rack in the middle and place a baking sheet on the rack. Generously coat a 6 cup soufflé dish with butter and sprinkle evenly with half of the parmesan cheese to coat. Set aside.
Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. When the foaming subsides, add the flour and stir occasionally until the flour has cooked slightly, about 3 minutes.
Gradually whisk in the cream, thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne, and bring to a simmer, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat an whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, until well blended. Whisk in the goat cheese until evenly combined. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (be sure that both the whish and bowl are very clean). Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until the whites are glossy and peaks are droopy but hold onto a spatula, about 3 minutes more.
Fold one-third of the egg whites into the base mixture until well blended and no white streaks are visible. Add the remaining whites and gently fold until thoroughly combined. Pour into the prepared dish and sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the top.
Place the soufflé dish on the heated baking sheet and bake until it is well risen (no peeking!), the top is browned, the edges appear dry, and the center is set, 25-30 minutes.