The 15th of this month rolled around much more quickly than I anticipated, even with some thoughtful planning. We were away the last week of May and first week of June, and I thought it would be just fine to get the second challenge for our fledgling baking group, Baking on the 15th, done after our return. The recipe for “Individual Chocolate Souffles with Crème Anglaise” is very straightforward, and I’m no stranger to soufflés. Anything made with chocolate is motivating. What possibly could interfere?
Extra Sharp Cheddar Souffle
For some reason people either haven’t made a souffle before, or completely shy away from the whole idea. I’m thinking it’s because of all those times they’ve heard about or seen segments on television shows or cartoons where the souffle has collapsed, or turns out like a brick. I know that when I cook something for the first time, anything can happen — but not if I’m thorough in my reading of the recipe, have the right materials and ingredients, and pay attention. And that’s usually difficult, because when you’re slugging down chardonnay as fast as I can, then things can get fuzzy.
I have made only five souffles over the years. The first one was made in a newly remodeled kitchen with the MoH in our very new 36″ gas Dynasty range. It came out perfect. Truly. The second was to celebrate a new kitchen in our current home with my VBF and her husband over for the show. They were considering a new kitchen of their own and were thinking about what kind of range to purchase, and wanted to see my shiny 48″ Duel Fuel Wolf in action. The only thing this range doesn’t have is four-wheel drive. The souffle came out perfectly again. And has each time. We’ve even been known to scream loudly at the souffle after taking it out of the oven just to see if it would deflate. Nope! I’m sure that now I’m telling everyone that a souffle is safe to attempt, my next will fall completely flat. I’ll make sure I let you know about that when it happens.
Nevertheless, take it on. You won’t be disappointed. I recommend Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One. It not only provides the recipe, but variations, and also very important techniques that help improve your cooking craft. There are no shiny food porn pictures, but that’s not the point of this book. Just follow the directions, learn the techniques, and take your own pictures. That will be far more worthwhile.
I chose to serve this souffle with a baby romaine salad tossed in a light basil-oil and lime vinaigrette topped with asparagus sauteed in garlic and diced prosciutto, and topped with a sort of granita made of diced and seeded tomatoes, minced shallots, and grated lemon peel. Simply, and completely, taste bud heaven.
Scrumptous Extra Sharp Cheddar Souffle
(Souffle Au Fromage)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (I did not use a convection setting for this souffle)
Position rack in the middle of the oven with no rack above it.
6-cup souffle mold (important if you want the souffle to rise up above the rim of the dish)
2-1/2 qt. saucepan
1 tsp butter
1 T grated fresh Parmesan (fine grate — a planer works excellently)
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 c. boiling milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites
big pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar (added because I was using an electric mixer with more than 2 whites)
3/4 c. extra sharp cheddar (used for my recipe)
- Measure out all your ingredients ahead of time — Very Important!
- Separate egg yolks from the whites. Add the extra egg white to the others, and save the extra yolk for another purpose if you wish.
- Butter inside of souffle mold and sprinkle with grated — you may need more than the 1 T stated
- Boil milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave while the flour mixture is cooking.
- In the 2-1/2 qt. saucepan, melt butter and stir in the flour, cooking over medium heat. Allow to foam for two minutes without browning. Remove heat.
- When bubbles are gone, pour all the boiling milk
- Beat vigorously with a wire whip until blended. Beat in the seasonings as well.
- Return to medium high heat and boil, stirring with the whip for 1 minute until thick. Remove from heat.
- Pour egg whites into the bowl of a mixing machine and whip on low for 1-2 minutes, add the salt and cream of tartar, and switch to high, beating until stiff and glossy, about 1 minute more. Be careful to not overbeat.
- Pour egg yolks into the saucepan milk mixture one by one, whipping vigorously each time one is added. Check seasoning, and correct to your liking.
- Take a very large spoonful of the eggwhites and gently fold it into the egg yolk mixture in the saucepan. Stir in all but 1 T. of the grated cheddar cheese.
- Carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites, being careful to not over mix.
- Pour the combined mixture into the souffle dish. It should be about 3/4 full.
- Tap the bottom of the dish once lightly on the counter, and carefully smooth the top of the souffle.
- Sprinkle remaining grated cheddar (1T) over the top.
- Set souffle on the middle rack of the oven. Immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes.
- DO NOT open oven for the first 20 minutes during cooking, or at all if you can help it.
- The finished souffle will be at least 2″ above the rim of the souffle dish, and nicely browned.
- Serve immediately to the Oooohs and Ahhhhs of your incredulous guests.