May 23, 2016
Soufflés have the reputation of being temperamental, difficult and scary – unless you’re Julia Child or Sue Ann Nivens. Change your attitude! Think of it as a fancy breakfast casserole, without the bread. Not only do soufflés make a great lunch, brunch, or lite dinner – they can be very impressive! Even when they appear to flop, they still taste good. Watch Becky make it on Studio 5.
Melt ⅓-cup butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add onion and sauté until softened (about 2-3 minutes). Add flour, stirring constantly, cook until golden (about 1-minute). Whisk in hot* milk, mustard, salt, black pepper and hot sauce. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese, leftover Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Add egg yolks and whisk until completely incorporated. NOTE: 1-3 tablespoons minced fresh herbs of choice may be added at this stage (chives, parsley, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, etc).
Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm enough to form an apostrophe. Stir approximately ¼ the whites into sauce to lighten the mixture. Fold remaining whites into mixture. Spoon into prepared dish or ramekins. Flatten the top with the back of a spoon. Bake ramekins 15-20 minutes (larger soufflés 40-50 minutes). Serve immediately for dramatic effect.
* Hot milk whisks in easier. If cold milk is used, gradually whisk it in to butter and flour.
Generously butter and dust ramekins or soufflé dish. Sometimes a recipe will call for bread crumbs, I prefer grated Parmesan cheese. The cheese gives the soufflé traction as it climbs the side of the dish, and it helps prevent the soufflé from falling. I like to make the individual soufflés in 8-oz ramekin. For a pretty and puffy soufflé use a flat bottom dish that is skinny and tall.
Make a basic white sauce or béchamel sauce using a rue. Soufflé is French, along with rue and béchamel. Don’t be afraid. Basically it is melted butter with flour, cooked until it smells nutty. Add hot milk and whisk it in until it’s smooth and creamy and boils. Tada, you have French Béchamel (white sauce)! Vary the flavor by seasoning the milk with sautéed onions, bay leaves, pepper corns etc.
Cheese gives it strength. Food and Wine magazine has a section called “Mastering My Mistakes”. One of her Soufflé tips don’t be afraid of opening the oven door during cooking because the cheese gives it strength. While the white sauce is still hot, stir in a flavorful shredded cheese – like aged Swiss of Gruyere – and some shredded Parmesan.
Beat egg whites, but don’t over beat them. Another tip from Food and Wine. More is not always better. Beat egg whites until they form an apostrophe. Over beaten egg whites make them stiff and dry and hard to fold into this recipe. You’re looking for a firm foamy mixture.
Before cooking run your finger around the top of the soufflé to even it out – purely aesthetic. This helps to make the soufflé raise straighter.