Soufflé. The word alone strikes a note of high class, or at least high-maintenance. It’s one of those recipes that I always wrote off as better to let the experts handle it. When Mike mentioned this may be one of the ones he would like to tackle in our one-butt kitchen, I enthusiastically gave him the apron.
A soufflé, as I learned, is a lightly baked cake (savory or sweet) made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites along with other ingredients. The word soufflé comes from the French “souffler” which means “to blow up” — an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites.
Every soufflé is made from two basic components, which is a French crème pâtissière base/flavored cream sauce or purée and egg whites beaten to a soft peak meringue. The base provides the flavor and the whites provide the “lift” and is commonly made from cheese, jam, fruit, chocolate, etc.
While this breakfast treat can range from simple to very complex, Mike opted for a simple cheese version ala Food Network’s Alton Brown – the Cheese Soufflé. While this recipe features an 8-inch soufflé mold, we used two single-serving ramekins. This method tends to avoid us sharing, which can break out into squabbles over how much the other one got.
In regards to taste, this recipe is puffed up bits of heaven. The flavor is rich and . . . infuses a bit of classy into our lazy, weekend morning ritual. The recipe – start to finish – only takes an hour to complete and will make any guest smile. It’s also a great introduction for a newbie into the wild world of soufflé cooking.
Butter, room temperature, for greasing the souffle
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups milk, hot
4 large egg yolks (2 1/2 ounces by weight)
6 ounces sharp Cheddar
5 egg whites plus 1 tablespoon water (5 1/2 ounces by weight plus 1/2 ounce water)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Use room temperature butter to grease an 8-inch souffle mold. Add the grated Parmesan and roll around the mold to cover the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, heat the butter. Allow all of the water to cook out.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, dry mustard, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Whisk this mixture into the melted butter. Cook for 2 minutes.
Whisk in the hot milk and turn the heat to high. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove from the heat.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks to a creamy consistency. Temper the yolks into the milk mixture, constantly whisking. Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Whisk until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until glossy and firm. Add 1/4 of the mixture to the base. Continue to add the whites by thirds, folding very gently.
Pour the mixture into the souffle. Fill the souffle to 1/2-inch from the top. Place on an aluminum pie pan. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.