#83- Make a Soufflé

I'm taking advantage of my current unemployment by venturing to tackle the inexpensive and more time-consuming items on my 101 Things List. One such item (which I've been consciously avoiding due to my baking fears) is #83- Make a Soufflé. 

I've never tasted a soufflé. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'd never even seen one in person when I randomly decided to stick this on my to-do list back in January 2014. I think that's probably what intrigued me and gave me the hankering to try it out. Well, that, and the fancy name. And yeah Doctor Who's "Soufflé Girl" probably played a role in this, too.

I possibly held unrealistic expectations of looking like this if I made a soufflé

After finally deciding to try my hand at this notoriously difficult dish, I consulted the Internet for a basic recipe that used ingredients I already had in my kitchen and found this one from Dulce Delight. I really appreciated her well-made directional video. I stopped and replayed it several times as I followed the steps, and all of her advice proved accurate and helpful. 

That said, her recipe didn't include a baking time, which created a pretty stressful situation when I realized this error after I'd just placed my soufflés in the oven. I also didn't have the exact same ingredients she listed, so I'm going to do a quick run-down of my version below. 

First, you need a couple of ramekins. 

Before you do anything else, coat the insides of the ramekins with butter, then pat freshly grated Parmesan cheese into the sides and bottoms of the ramekins to prevent sticking. Then set the ramekins in the fridge until you need them. 

Oh, and preheat your oven to 400.

Next, prepare the roux for the soufflé. I highly advise measuring, gathering, and preparing all of your ingredients before you do this. That probably sounds obvious, but I'm a throw-a-little-of-this-and-a-little-of-that-in-the-pot-until-it-looks-right-and-smells-good kind of cook. That's why I've always had disastrous baking results. I like to make things up as I go along. 

You cannot do that with a soufflé.

Following the steps properly and getting your timing right is everything, so you need to have your ingredients ready to go. And though it was a struggle for me, I obeyed this rule and followed the directions like a wise baker should. 

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, then turn down heat and stir in flour. Cook flour for about three minutes, then whisk in milk until mixture thickens. Move pan from hot eye and stir in cheese until it melts and the roux has a nice, thick, goopy texture. Whisk in egg yolks and season with salt, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Set this mixture aside. 

Now. It's time to get down to business. Whip the egg whites.  

You're looking for a white, creamy, peaky texture, and when you start, you're gonna think that outcome is impossible. But you'll get there. It took me a really long time. Or maybe it just seemed like a really long time because my flabby arms gave out so quickly. Anyway, keep whisking away until it reaches the appropriate texture.

Though your movements must be gentle, you have to act fast now. Carefully fold the egg whites into the cheesy-egg goop. You're trying to keep as much air in the mixture as you can, so don't overwork the whipped egg whites...or your soufflé won't rise.

Get those butter-and-cheese-coated ramekins out of the fridge now and set them on a baking sheet. Scoop the cheesy-egg goop into the ramekins and place the tray in the oven. Turn the heat down to 375. 

This is when the magic happens. See how my ramekins were, disappointingly, barely half full?

POOF! Just when I'd lost all hope, I peeked through the oven window and saw that they'd risen. The Dulce Delight recipe said to leave them in the oven for about 8-15 minutes, but after 20, mine hadn't budged. I think they stayed in the oven for about 35 minutes. The goal is for the soufflés to rise and reach a nice, golden brown color. 

 I was so impressed with myself when I pulled my ramekins out of the oven. They were so cute!

And so tasty. Like I said, I'd never tasted a soufflé, so I didn't know what to expect. These were rich, fluffy, and cloud-like, something like a lighter, savory bread pudding. I don't know if that's what they're supposed to be like, but they were pretty great to my husband and me!

And one more thing is crossed off the list!

If you're up for trying this, here's the recipe I used:

Simple French Cheese Soufflé


3-4 tbsp butter (1-2 tbsp to coat the ramekins, 2 tbsp for roux)
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese for coating ramekins
4 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
2 large egg yolks
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I used Sargento Italian Mix)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 egg whites, chilled

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Coat ramekins with 1-2 tbsp. butter. Pat Parmesan cheese into the sides and bottoms of the ramekins to prevent sticking. Place ramekins in the fridge until you need them.

3. To make roux: in a saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp. butter. Turn down heat and stir in flour. Cook for about 3 minutes, then whisk in milk until mixture thickens.

4. Move pan from hot eye and stir in cheese until it melts. Whisk in egg yolks. Season with salt, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Set mixture aside.

5. In a separate bowl, whip cold egg whites until they are creamy and peaks begin to form.

6. Carefully fold egg whites into the roux and scoop mixture into the ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and set inside the oven. Immediately lower heat to 375 and bake for 15-30 minutes, or until the soufflés have risen and the tops are golden brown.


Jessica said...

First of all, I had to google ramekins. How sad is that? Anyway, sounds insanely complicated but they look really yummy! Win-win, you got to cross something off your list and you made a tasty dish. Did you eat it as a meal?(is that a stupid question?)

Anna Marie Schaefer said...

Sooooo jealous of your courage and success!! You should have taken an "after" pic of yourself to compare to the Clara picture, haha. I'm sure you were radiant. :D

Anna Marie Schaefer said...

Yay! It let me leave a comment!

Lacey said...

Oh my gosh, YUM! These look sooo good! I've actually never made a souffle either. Way to go! I love your little ramekin mugs! I've never seen them in mug form.