Souffle is one of the dishes that many people are hesitant or afraid to prepare because of previous experiences that resulted in kitchen disasters. Many of my acquaintances believe it to be true. This notion however is wrong. It is certainly much easier to cook a souffle than poach an egg. I have been to elegant dinners where souffle is served to climax a dinner, or so called ” piece resistance”, yet it is really simple to prepare. Souffle is a dish that one can not make in advance. There are some preparation you can do to get ahead, but the final baking is last minute. This dish is perfect for a party of 6- 12 but in excess of that,failure awaits. When you want to order souffle dessert in a restaurant it is best that you inform the waiter ahead of time.
There are 4 types of souffles; those based on butter and flour sauces; those made with potato and cornstarch panades; souffle made with cooked egg yolks and souffles made with only eggs and a spirit flavoring. The 1st 3 are baked in the center of a preheated oven. The 4th type of souffle must be baked in the lower third of the oven
The main ingredients of souffle are eggs. The yolk is separated from the egg whites. The egg yolk and egg white both play a significant, but separate role. The butter and the flour forms the basis of the sauce. The eggyolk enrich the sauce. The egg white is beaten until stiff, and folded into the sauce to lighten it. The air that is incorporated into the souffle causes the souffle to rise as it cooks. The souffle rises to form a fluffy golden brown cloud, like a ballon filled with air with the end held by your fingers. At this point the souffle must be served immediately, before the air escapes and the souffle collapses.
These are the tools you need to have a perfect souffle:
1. A calibrated oven.
2. Souffle dishes
3. A cooper mixing bowl
4. A wire whisk
5. Ballon whisk
5. Wooden spoon
6. Parchment or wax paper
7. string (soak in water to prevent from burning)
Steps to preparing souffle
This recipe can fill an 8 cup or 2 quart souffle or 6 -6oz individual souffle cups
Souffle dishes have straight sides to allow the souffle to rise unobstructed. Ramekins can be used if you do not have french souffle dishes. I use individual 6oz ramekins because they cook faster. Bigger containers as in 11/2 quart-2 quarts takes 25-30 minutes to cook.
1. Prepare the souffle dish. Cut a 5″ parchment or wax paper to encircle the souffle dish to allow 2″ overlap. The width of the parchment paper is about 13 1/2 ” adequate to wrap around a 6oz souffle dish
2. Fold the parchment paper in half lengthwise. Make 1/2 ” fold at the folded edge . Butter or flour the inside of the dish and about top 3rd of the wax paper. If you are making dessert use sugar and butter.
3. Wrap the folded paper around the souffle dish . The paper should extend 2″ above the rim of the souffle dish.
4. Tie a string around the paper to hold it in place.
5. Set aside the prepared souffle dish.
Recipe for a dessert souffle
1 1/2 cup whole milk
6 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar*
3 tbsp liqueur (brandy or grand marnier
1/2 C sugar
* If you are using a cooper bowl omit this ingredient
Preheat the oven at 425 deg F for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 400 deg F when you place the souffle in the oven
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. When the butter is melted ,remove from the heat . Add all the flour all at once stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumping.
2. Return the sauce pan to the stove with moderate heat to cook the batter for one minute.
3. Using a wire whisk, add the liquid slowly to the flour mixture until a smooth sauce is form.
4. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the egg yolk one at a time,mixing well after each addition.
5. Stir in the liqueur. Cover the sauce and set aside.
6. Beat the egg whites using a ballon whisk until it forms soft peaks. (Make sure the egg whites are free of any yolks and the bowl is clean and dry). If you prefer to use an electric mixer ,do so.
7.Stir 1 cup of the beaten egg whites into the warm sauce to cool the sauce.
8.Slowly fold the sauce gently into the remaining egg whites,using a spatula. Each time you fold in the sauce, the mixture deflates,like letting air out of a ballon.
9. Pile the mixture carefully into the prepared souffle dish up to the rim of the dish.
After you fill the souffle dish,take a small knife a, insert 1″ deep into the center of the souffle mix and swirl the knife in a circle once.
10.I Use a cookie sheet to hold the individual souffle dish for ease in handling. I leave the baking sheet in the oven when
I am preheating the oven, then I put the souffle dishes on top of the cookie sheet .
11 Bake dessert souffle in the lower third of the oven. When spirits are added to souffle they tend to overflow.
12.Slowly close the oven door and wait for the souffle to cook.
12. Souffle should be ready in 15 to 18 minutes (individual) and about 25-30 minutes if you use a 2 quart souffle dish.
13. Souffle is ready when it has risen above the rim of the dish and the top is golden brown and firm to touch. If it wobbles when touched, the souffle needs a few more minutes to cook. Close the oven door carefully.
14, When the souffle is ready, you must serve it immediately. Remove the collar in the kitchen and wrap a starched white napkin around the souffle dish. This is where the drama begins.
15.Before serving,quickly plunge a spoon in the middle of the baked souffle and move the souffle slightly towards the side. This will allow the steam to escape and delay the collapse of the dish. A well cooked souffle will hold its shape for at least 4 minutes before collapsing.
14.Sprinkle with confectioners sugar or a dollop of whipping cream.
Once you prepare the souffle once or twice you will get the hang of it and preparing the dish is going to be a breeze.