My Very First Soufflé
As you may well know if you’ve been reading this blog, I’m a Julia Child fan. Ever since I read her memoir “My Life in France” I’ve been so inspired to cook and to savor everything. French cooking has always seemed daunting to me, and none more so than the soufflé. Nevertheless, I bought her opus “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and am slowly making my way through it. I’ve been eyeing the pages on soufflés for several days now and finally decided today was the day!
Having never attempted one before, my ideas (or, more appropriately, my apprehensions) were all based on things I’ve heard over the course of my life (probably mostly from television) about how difficult and tricky soufflés are to prepare. I suppose the bad reputation is not completely without merit, but I found the process fascinating and not nearly as difficult as I expected. I will note, however, that I believe using the recipe from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” is what made all the difference. Julia Child’s attention to every detail and her explanations of each step of the process are nearly fool-proof. She is very thorough in her recipes; and if followed precisely, the outcome is sure to be delicious.
I served this cheese soufflé for lunch, but the next time I make it I will serve it as an accompaniment to a main course. (Although it was very filling on its own.)
Just out of the oven….
Soufflé au Fromage
from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”
by Julia Child
*Using a soufflé mold 6” in diameter and 4” in height is best for this recipe.
1 tsp butter
1 T grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°. Butter inside of pan and sprinkle with cheese.
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 cup boiling milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour using a wooden spoon and cook over moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat; when mixture has stopped bubbling, pour in all the boiling milk at once. Beat vigorously with a wire whisk until blended. Beat in seasonings. Return over moderately high heat and boil, stirring with the wire whisk, for 1 minute. Sauce will be very thick.
4 egg yolks
Separate 4 yolks from egg whites, reserving whites in a separate bowl. Add 1 additional egg white to egg whites bowl and discard yolk. Add each yolk to the hot sauce mixture one at a time, beating each one into the mixture with the wire whisk.
5 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 cup coarsely grated Swiss and Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until stiff. Stir in a big spoonful (about 1/4 of the egg whites) into the sauce. Stir in all but 1 T of cheese. Delicately fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Turn the soufflé mixture into the prepared mold. Tap the bottom of the mold lightly on the counter and smooth the surface with the flat of a knife. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Set on rack in the middle of oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 375°. (Do not open oven door for 20 minutes.) In 30 minutes the soufflé will have puffed about 2 inches over the rim of the mold, and the top will be nicely browned. Bake 4-5 minutes more to firm it up, then serve at once.