I finally got around to making a soufflé. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long. I guess when I’m making brunch for a lot of people it didn’t seem like an experiment that I wanted to try. And for some reason I never thought to make one when it was just two or a few of us. I almost missed another opportunity this last weekend but luckily as I was searching for something – I don’t even remember what now – a soufflé came up in the results. And I was off!
You may have heard how hard it is to make a soufflé. It’s not. I admit I was a little worried as it was baking because I’d created my own recipe from two I’d found. The soufflés took longer than expected to bake but still turned out great! And…. since I had some leftover mixture I decided to see what would happen if I saved it to bake later. After refrigerating it for eight or nine hours I baked it and it was great! Finally, I had some of the cooked soufflé leftover so I refrigerated it and microwaved pieces of it the next couple mornings – delicious still! No longer super puffy, but delicious.
I think the big thing to remember is do not open the oven until it’s done, or very close to being done. Honestly, though, since the soufflés I made for the party took so much longer to bake than I thought they would, I opened the oven several times during the last 15 minutes (they took a total of about 30 to bake) and they still puffed and browned very nicely. I think that was flirting with danger, however. I’ve made a little adjustment to the recipe so the baking time should be a little less than 30 minutes if you follow the recipe below.
I’ve come to the conclusion that a soufflé is one of those things like gougère that have an undeserved reputation for being hard to make. And the reality is that it’s probably the fear that makes them fail. So go for it and make a soufflé. They’re fun!
The photo at the top of the post was the one I made with the leftover mixture. For the party I used taller dishes, although both shapes hold 1 cup. At the end of the post you’ll see what it looks like once it deflates.
• 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more to butter the dishes
• 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1 cup milk, warmed
• 4 ounces grated cheese* (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
• 1 tsp coarse salt
• 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
• 4 large eggs, separated plus 1 additional egg white
• Finely grated Parmesan, Asiago, Pecorino or similar cheese for dusting the dishes
* Use whatever cheese or combination of hard to medium hard cheeses you’d like. Soft cheeses contain more moisture and may require extra baking time. For this recipe I used a combination of Gruyère and Pecorino.
Preheat oven to 375. Butter four 1-cup soufflé dishes. Dust with the finely grated cheese, and tap out excess. (You’ll probably have enough batter for a fifth soufflé so you may want to prepare an additional dish.)
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle flour over the butter and cook, whisking, for 1 – 2 minutes. Add milk, cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking and whisking until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in yolks.
Make sure your mixing bowl is free from any sort of oil or fat. To be safe you can wipe the bowl with a paper towel or cloth dampened with vinegar. Place egg whites in the bowl and, using a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Add one quarter of the whites to the cheese mixture, gently folding until mostly combined. Continue adding the whites to the cheese mixture in three more batches, gently folding after each addition. You want to keep as much air in the whites as possible. Divide among soufflé dishes, filling to 3/4 to 1/2 inch from top. Place on a baking sheet, and bake until puffed and golden, 20 – 25 minutes. Serve immediately.