Tuesday Techniques: Cheese Soufflé

May 20, 2008 | By | COMMENTS

IMG_1.JPG

We all remember those episodes of bad sitcoms where a character would be making a soufflé and insist that everyone stay quiet in the kitchen lest their precious prize collapse. Then, of course, an Urkel or a Punky would knock over a tray of pots and pans, the soufflé-maker would cry out and hilarity would ensue. This is how most Americans perceived soufflé, as a disaster waiting to happen. And most people, I’d wager, still think of it that way–which is why, perhaps, so many of you requested soufflé as the next technique I tackle in my Tuesday Techniques.

But, as Michael Ruhlman writes in his “Elements of Cooking”, “Soufflés are less fragile and difficult than their reputation suggests.”

Banking on this, I decided that I’d make a soufflé for lunch after going to the gym this morning (instead of dangling a carrot in front of my treadmill, I dangled an imaginary cheese soufflé).

The recipe I chose wasn’t from Jacques Pepin’s book (though he has a recipe for lobster soufflé I may try in the near future) but from my favorite, Ina Garten, and her “Barefoot in Paris” cookbook. I trust Ina–her recipes almost always come out–so I figured that for a dish as daunting and intimidating as soufflé, hers would be the recipe to use.

And boy, am I glad I did. Was it difficult? Not at all: it just involves lots of dirty dishes, broken eggs and self-control (especially in the not peeking in the oven department). I bought a large soufflé dish on Monday in preparation for making this; I think having a large soufflé dish is smart because instead of figuring out how many portions you can eat, you just make a big giant portion and dish yourself out however much you want. [For this recipe, the dish should hold 8 cups and it should be 7 1/2 inches in diameter X 3 1/4 inches deep.]

Here’s what you need to make it…

Ingredients

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

3 Tbs all-purpose flour

1 cup scalded milk

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of nutmeg

4 extra-large egg yolks at room temperature

3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped

5 extra-large egg whites at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

IMG_2.JPG

IMG_3.JPG

And here are Ina’s instructions…

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of an 8-cup soufflé dish and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

IMG_4.JPG

Melt the butter in a small saucepan on low heat.

IMG_5.JPG

With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

IMG_6.JPG

IMG_7.JPG

Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg.

IMG_8.JPG

IMG_9.JPG

Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.

Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time.

IMG_10.JPG

Stir in the Roquefort and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

IMG_11.JPG

IMG_12.JPG

Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.

IMG_13.JPG

Whisk one quarter of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest.

IMG_14.JPG

IMG_15.JPG

Pour into the soufflé dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the soufflé rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven.

IMG_16.JPG

Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don’t peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.

Here’s what I saw when I finally opened the oven…

IMG_17.JPG

IMG_18.JPG

What a feeling to see that your soufflé has risen! It’s one of the great kitchen highs. I removed it from the oven and called Craig in to behold my accomplishment.

IMG_20.JPG

“Wow,” said Craig giving it a once-over. “Smells good too.”

But it was when he dug his fork into the portion I put on his plate (along with some salad) that his eyes really lit up.

IMG_2929.JPG

“Mmmmmmm,” he sang out. “This is so good! This is one of the best things you’ve ever cooked!”

Isn’t it fascinating that a dish with such a long, dusty history can still dazzle when it comes out of the oven? This is like a cross between a cheese puff, a pancake, and an omelet. The Roquefort really gives it complex flavor and the Parmesan rounds it out. Along with a salad (dressed simply with olive oil and vinegar), a better lunch can’t be had.

And that, my friends, is this week’s Tuesday Technique. What would you like to see next?

Tags: , ,

Categories: Cheese, Recipes

  • Stephanie

    It’s hardly the season for it, but never a wrong time to learn, FUDGE. I like the hard-ish kind that you bite into and it just DISSOLVES in your mouth. Sometimes, it turns out. Sometimes, it’s just fudge sauce.

    Whattya think? :-)

  • http://www.restaurantreviewworld.com foodette

    Crazy! A month ago I randomly decided to make cheese souffle, and was so excited about the results that I posted it on my blog, too! Of course, I just posted my results, w/o all of the great step-by-step instructions that you have, and I regret it but I didn’t put on the recipe that I used from the Bride and Groom cookbook by Williams Sonoma. Oh well, I have never actually posted a real recipe, but randomly like to share my cooking exploits.

    Anyway, I see your charactature (sp??) all over the food network these days. Congrats and keep up the good work – I love reading Tuesday Techniques!

  • http://www.fritterblog.blogspot.com Sarah

    Adam, you certainly make this look simple! I’m particularly intrigued by the use of Roquefort. Thank you for sharing your tips.

    On a side note, I know that you recently blogged about kitchen tools, but I don’t recall that you discussed that handy automatic whisk that I see pictured. I’ve been thinking about buying one. Would you recommend the model that you owe?

  • http://thenewcook.com Andy

    Nice job. I’ve never tried a souffle, but you do make it look easy.

  • http://spudcake.blogspot.com Allix Geneslaw

    Good call on the Ina! She’s my favorite chef right now — each one of her recipes is simple and classic. I just made a batch of chocolate chip cookies from her Parties cookbook and they are scrumptious. (Although the required 3 1/2 cups of chocolate chips may send my body into a diabetic seizure.) I’ll have to pick up the Paris cookbook too!

  • http://lostintaste.blogspot.com/ Sarah Williams

    Crème brûlée please Adam!

  • http://www.mashedpotatoesandmerlot.blogspot.com Kristin Murdock

    I love this! I love Ina! I am inspired to buy a souffle dish and attempt my own this weekend. Thanks Adam!

  • http://livingsmallblog.com Charlotte

    I’ve never understood why people are so freaked out by souffles or think they’re complicated. It was one of the very first things I learned to cook when I was about 10 (Girl Scout cooking badge via my Mom). Once you get the basic idea — egg whites and a sauce (for either savory or sweet) they’re really easy. I was shocked this season on Top Chef by the souffle-hysteria (and their utter failure). Maybe I’m just old. In the 70s when I learned to cook, souffles were very swanky …

  • http://www.thethiftygourmet.com Chloé

    Good job!!! Your soufflé totally made me salivate. I always wanted to try Pepin’s lobster one, but doubted my skill level was up to par. Your post inspired me to give it a shot :)

  • http://devourthis.typepad.com/ Jackie

    Nice pouffy souffle, Adam! I, too, recently made a souffle for the first time and it was spectacular — perhaps I was a tad overzealous with the paprika, but its oozy-jiggly-eggy-cheesy-savory-ness was spectacular nonetheless.

    I used Molly Wizenberg’s (Orangette) recipe from last month’s Bon Appetit. And I served it with a Balthazar baguette. Perfect combo.

    I’ll try my next one with Roquefort…thanks!

    P.S. As for next technique, I’d like to see stuffed artichokes or preparing a whole fish!

  • Stephanie

    wow looks so yummy. A great tip, use some truffle oil to give the suffle a nutty flavor. i was browsing around for cheese souffle recipes, and I came across a video of how to make the perfect cheese souffle. The site is BehindtheBurner.com. I really liked that they use real-life restaurants chefs to show a demonstration video!! What’s also great is that they give you a discount for buying the cheese for the souffle, too. It’s great check it out!

  • http://www.ywbcer.iyld.com fhrj oapzct

    ktqyab cgkuxofw umibsp eaxknqv ziuhma lmycsjfot lvyo

  • http://mapper1.qsh.pl/sex322.html sex

    emuzwb