|Having fresh eggs should gives a golden appearance!|
Friday, February 28, 2014
Cheese Souffle 101
"Cooking is like love; it
should be entered into with
abandon or not at all."
~Harriet Van Horne
I know just hearing the word Souffle, most of you will cringe, but I'm going to show you how easy it easy to make and take the fear out of trying something that is truly amazing.
I actually learned how to make a souffle in 8th grade Home Economics class and fell in love with this light, airy dish that I would make again and again. It was one of the dishes that impressed even my mother, who had never made one. A souffle is an egg dish for sure and can be savory, as I have made today or sweet as the ones you have to pre-order in restaurants for dessert. The word souffle is French and means to "blow up" or "puff up" which it does by whipping the egg whites separately from the yolks to a stiff meringue, then folded in, gently. The one thing I cannot stress enough is that egg whites wait for no one; once they are whipped you must fold them in and get the souffle baking. This will mean having everything mise en place; having all your ingredients and your baking dish ready to assemble. Also, once it's in the oven, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR TO PEEK FOR 30 MINUTES! Okay, that was probably a little scary, but we got it out of the way...now let's create a magnificent dish that will have your family, like my hubby saying, "you should make this more often!"
4 T unsalted butter, melted
3 T King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt & pepper, to taste
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar, for the egg whites)
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
Preheat oven 400F-degrees. Melt butter in a 2 quart sauce pan. Remove 1 T (approx) butter the 6-cup souffle dish and a "collar" of aluminum foil to wrap around the top of the dish. This helps to hold up the souffle as it climbs.
Sprinkle the souffle dish with about 3 T Parmesan cheese.
Next, place the milk in a small sauce pan and heat to a light boil. Keep it on a simmer while you make a "white sauce."
In the pan with the melted butter and over medium heat, add the flour, all at once and stir with a rubber spatula. Cook over the medium heat until the flour/butter mixture foams, about 2 minutes, but does not brown.
Remove from the heat and add the simmering milk, all at once and beat vigorously with a whisk until well blended.
Stir the seasonings in and return to the heat to continue to cook one minute more.
Remove from the heat and start adding the eggs yolks, one at a time, until well incorporated.
Add the Gruyere cheese, keeping out about 1 T to sprinkle on top of the souffle after it's spooned into the baking dish.
In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, start on low to to break up the egg whites. Increase the speed and add the cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Continue to whip on high until you have a glossy white sheen and the egg whites are stiff and firm. Remove bowl from the stand.
Add about 1/3 of the egg whites to the egg/cheese mixture to lighten it up slightly, then, add this to the egg whites in your mixing bowl. The method of folding is important so you don't deflate these beautiful whites.
Use a large rubber spatula, cut down the middle of the mixture and then, pull up and over. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and continue to do this method until the whites are incorporated. (However, if you see some traces of white, don't worry. It's best not to overwork the whites.)
Carefully spoon the mixture into the prepared souffle dish.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 T Gruyere Cheese. Place in the oven and close the door. Immediately turn the oven down to 375F-degrees. Bake for exactly 30 minutes and remember--DO NOT open the oven during that time!
The souffle should be puffed up and a lovely golden brown on top. If you use a tester, it should come out clean.
To serve, use the 2 spoons to lightly puncture the top of the souffle. Start serving from the top to enjoy the airy texture...if you scoop to the bottom, you will deflate it.
It was delicious and my hubby is right...I should make this more often!
Tomorrow, I will choose February's winner, but I haven't made the March apron yet; my sewing machine is in for service. I was making a shower curtain for my daughter and when I was on the last button hold, it stopped! I was told my automatic button-hole foot and machine needed to be calibrated. Well, it's almost 20 years old and I guess it's due:-D
I hope this recipe takes the fear out of souffles and you will try this wonderful dish. Enjoy!
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