I always clean my handguns before I make a soufflé.
      - Jet-Poop

The soufflé is one of the more mysterious recipes in the French oeuvre. This "simple white sauce", as sneff disarmingly terms it, through the expansion of trapped air alone, is made to rise like a top hat. It takes something like faith on the part of the would-be chef.

In a kinder and gentler world, recipes for soufflé, indeed any recipe that utilizes beaten egg whites for rising, would be prefaced by a disclaimer, similar to the following:

WARNING: Do not attempt the following recipe if feeling anxious, nervous, dizzy, or drowsy. Avoid alcoholic beverages or testosterone while making this recipe. Exhale your ego. Under no circumstances should you rely upon a soufflé when love is on the line.

Sneff's Twice Cooked Cheese Soufflé is probably a much more genuine and lighter specimen than this recipe offers. I imagined something large that would rise tremendously and be at great risk of collapse, a tasty egg circus tent of some kind.

Instead, I got tiny compact soufflés filled with creamy cheese and threaded with very fine mushrooms. They were a lot like airy quiches, in fact - minus the crust, which suited me just fine.

I am no gourmet chef, so the physics of the soufflé eludes me. It may be that they just pose less inflation and less risk when cooked in "individual ramekins" (or as I like to call them, muffin tins). I'm sure some kind user will let me know. In the meantime:

Tasty Little Soufflés For You

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) cream
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) rice flour
  • 1 (1) large egg yolk
  • 2 (2) large egg whites
  • 2 ounces (60 gm) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 bunch (4 bunches... just kidding. One bunch) of enoki mushrooms, sliced into inch or half-inch segments (oh. Er... Bite-size bits.)

    Step one: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 200 degrees Celsius. Step two: Read how to separate eggs. (Although I did just pour the yolk from eggshell to eggshell to separate it. Shh! Don't tell anyone!) And, oh, separate the eggs. If you are bold, or quite mad, and have young guests, you can delight and horrify them at this juncture by eating the spare yolk raw. Other than that, I don't know what you're going to do with it.

    Supposedly, you will now butter the ramekins, or the ramekin alternative of your choice. Personally, I waited till the very end. And I used black truffle oil instead of butter, because yum.

    Pour the cream into a saucepan, drop the butter in the cream, and heat 'em up until the butter has melted. Do use medium heat at first, so it doesn't just all froth up like mad and boil before you know what's happening. Once the butter is melted, bring it to a boil and add all the flour at once.

    I used rice flour (all right, organic brown rice flour) because I was cooking for a guest who is allergic to wheat. (I am too, I just don't care enough about my health usually to change.) You, however, may use any sort of flour you want. The recipe I adapted (considerably) insisted on all-purpose flour; for the gluten-unfriendly, there are a wide variety of other options such as garbanzo bean flour and flax seed flour. But I like rice.

    The recipe I used informs me that once the flour is added, we "whisk vigorously until mixture returns to a boil." Isn't that charming? Yeah, that didn't happen for me. The moment the flour hit the buttered cream, it became a paste. I just whisked it until it seemed to be boiling hot again.

    At this point, pour it into a bowl and whisk it until it stops steaming, then whisk in the yolk. Even if at this point you feel the urge to whisk it with a damn fork, not some bendy piece of wire. Sprinkle the cheese over it and stir it in with a spatula, or a spoon, or the sheer force of your iron will.

    You don't have to use feta. I just think it's creamy-tasty-nice. You can use any crumbly cheese you want. You can probably even grate some harder stuff into the dough. Go nuts. Add the mushrooms now, too. Enoki are nice; the caps are little and round in your mouth, and the rest of the mushroom is this thin thread of shroomy goodness.

    Now take those egg whites and jam an electric eggbeater in there. I got to watch someone pour the eggs from the little bowl into a big bowl so they wouldn't splatter, and then despair that they would be deep enough in the big bowl to be mixed, and pour them back into the little bowl. There's nothing like witnessing the joy of someone seeing the beaters just suck the egg white up without splashing a drop. It's a heartwarming cooking moment.

    Beat them until they just start to hold stiff peaks and then scoop half of them into the cheese mixture and whisk them in. Add the rest of the egg whites, and whisk gently just until they're blended.

    This filled six of my muffin cups; your mileage may vary. Spoon it in, just about full, and then find a big pan with sides that can hold your Soufflé Vehicle of Choice and some water. The water should reach halfway up the outer sides of the Vehicle. This will make it nice and steamy in the oven without getting the little egglets wet.

    Bake for half an hour or until golden brown and a little puffy, then eat 'em up quick.

  • Souf"flé (?), n. [F., fr. soufflé, p.p. of souffler to puff.] Cookery

    A side dish served hot from the oven at dinner, made of eggs, milk, and flour or other farinaceous substance, beaten till very light, and flavored with fruits, liquors, or essence.

     

    © Webster 1913.


    Souf"fle (?), n. [F.] Med.

    A murmuring or blowing sound; as, the uterine souffle heard over the pregnant uterus.

     

    © Webster 1913.


    Souf`fle" (?), a. [F., fr. souffle, p. p. of souffler to puff.]

    1.

    (Ceramics)

    Decorated with very small drops or sprinkles of color, as if blown from a bellows.

    2.

    (Cookery) Often Soufflee.

    Filled with air by beating, and baked; as, an omelette souffle.

     

    © Webster 1913.

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