Category Archives: Soufflé

Making a Cheese Soufflé

You want to talk about the dynamic nature of a soufflé? By the time I got this beast into my preferred light to snap this picture, it had already fallen from its peak about two inches over the rim of the form to a level about even with the form. That’s normal for a soufflé that’s not heavily reinforced, but it goes to show that where soufflé delivery is concerned, there can be no dithering. But let us wind the clock back about an hour, shall we? We’ll take a peek at how this all started. I began by grinding a couple of tablespoons of fresh-grated parmesan cheese in the food processor.

I then buttered the inside of my form. I decided to use a charlotte mold instead of the standard fluted ramekin, well, because that’s what Julia Child used. The truth is you can use just about any deep 6- or 8-cup mold to make a soufflé.

I poured in the cheese and patted it all around.

Next I melted the butter for my roux and added the flour.

I whisked it in…

…and let it bubble over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes

I took it off the heat, added my simmering milk and started to whisk again.

And about ten seconds later I had my béchamel sauce.

In went my seasonings (more whisking).

Then in went the egg yolks.

More whisking.

I let this mixture cool down completely. Next I turned my attention to the egg whites. I whipped the whites to soft peaks and added my cream of tartar…

…then whipped them to stiff peaks (though not to the “dry” point).

I transferred my béchamel base to a large, shallow bowl, then added one quarter of the whites, plus all but a tablespoon or so of the cheese (Swiss and parmesan are the standards, here I’m using herbed Cotswold…it was on sale at Whole Foods, what can I say?). Make sure it’s grated roughly, not finely.

I simply stirred that all together without ceremony.

Then with my largest scraper, I folded in the whites (for more on folding, see this tutorial right here)

When the whites were mostly incorporated, I scraped the batter into the prepared mold…

…sprinkled on the last of the cheese, and baked it at 375 for the allotted time.

Ah yes. All done. To serve a soufflé, take an over-sized spoon, insert it into the center of the soufflé, and scoop outward toward the rim.

You’ll get something that looks a little like that:

Where’s the wine?

Filed under:  Soufflé, Totally Not Pastry | 2 Comments

Cheese Soufflé Recipe

Base formulas for savory soufflées — their ratios of eggs, flour and liquid — are remarkably consistent from one recipe writer to another, at least in my experience. Where they differ is usually in the amount of flavoring added and the types of seasonings, though sometimes in the type of liquid used as well. Below is a recipe that’s almost identical to Julia Child’s, except that it calls for a little cream of tartar to help stabilize the egg whites. I’m providing recipes for both of the most common sizes of forms, 6-cup and 8-cup.

For a 6-Cup Form

2 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup simmering milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 egg yolks
4 ounces cheese, grated
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For an 8-Cup Form

3 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups simmering milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
6 egg yolks
6 ounces cheese, grated
8 egg whites, room temperature
3/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Procedure

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a form and coat it with bread crumbs or finely grated parmesan cheese. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and set it to simmer. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a separate saucepan and add the flour. Whisk until the butter and flour are combined — you’ll have what’s known in cooking circles as a roux — and cook the mixture, letting it bubble away for about two minutes (this is important to “cook out” the flour’s starchy taste and mouthfeel). Remove the roux from the heat, pour the simmering milk into the roux and whisk. It will thicken in a matter of seconds into a dense béchamel sauce. Whisk in the egg yolks and seasonings, and set the pan aside. You can keep this mixture for up to two days in the refrigerator if you like. You can even freeze it for up to two months.

When ready to make your soufflé, pour the room temperature whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attached. Whip to soft peaks, add the cream of tartar and whip to stiff peaks.

To bring the batter together, pour the béchamel sauce into a large, preferably shallow bowl and fetch your broadest scraper. Add 1/4 of the whipped whites to the sauce, plus all but a tablespoon or so of the cheese. Stir all that in, not caring about the consequences. Now then, gently fold in the remaining whites a third at a time until you can only see a few streaks of egg white.

Gently scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the batter if need be with a scraper. Sprinkle on the last of the cheese, put the pan in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 375. Bake for about 25 minutes for a 6-cup soufflé and 35 for an 8-cup. Though stories about soufflés falling with the opening of an oven door are mostly just that, stories, it’s better to leave the door closed and the soufflé undisturbed for the full time. When the time’s up, check the soufflé, it should be rising nicely. Bake another 5 minutes for a 6-cup and 10 minutes for an 8-cup until the puff comes a full 2 inches over the rim of the form and the crust is well browned.

Remove the soufflé from the oven, carry immediately to your waiting family — singing La Marseillaise all the while — and serve with great ceremony.

Filed under:  Soufflé, Totally Not Pastry | 8 Comments