Classic Cheese Soufflé

Soufflé au Fromage Classique

Serves 2

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The origins of the soufflé date back to the early eighteenth century with credit and acknowledgement to French master cook Vincent de la Chapelle. However, the development and popularization of the soufflé in the nineteenth century is attributed to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême. Served as an entrée or as a dessert, soufflés are typically prepared from two basic components: a Sauce Béchamel as the flavorful base, and the “puff” of the egg whites. Soufflés can be baked in individual ramekins or in a larger single soufflé dish. Ingredients commonly used to flavor are fresh herbs, cheese and vegetables. For dessert soufflés you can introduce the sweetness of jams, fruits, berries, chocolate, bananas and lemons. Soufflés can also be accompanied by a sauce, such as Suprême, Béarnaise or a Tomato Coulis.

Contrary to the myth that a bump or loud noise will cause the soufflé to fall, the inevitable collapse is indeed expected, once the soufflé begins to cool.


•• Sauce Béchamel ••

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

pepper and nutmeg to taste (optional)

1/2  cup of organic unbleached or Spelt flour

1 cup of whole milk or half and half

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PREPARATION

•• Using a sauce pan over a low heat, slowly melt the butter until you see the formation of small bubbles. •• Add salt, pepper and nutmeg (optional) to taste. •• Gradually introduce the flour by mixing slowly with a whisk to create a paste.  •• This is called a “roux”, that should not be overcooked or allowed to become brown. •• Remove the roux from the heat and add 1 cup of whole milk or half and half, blending until smooth and without the formation of any lumps. •• Place the sauce pan back over a low heat, mixing the roux slowly and until it becomes firm. •• If you observe that the roux is quickly becoming too firm, remove the pan from the heat, but continue to mix. •• If the roux is becoming too thick, add sparing amounts of milk for desired lightness. •• Your Sauce Béchamel is now ready and should present as a creamy smooth sauce, without any lumps and with the consistency of fluffy mashed potatoes. •• Turn off the heat and set aside your saucepan on the cooktop. ••


 •• The Puff of the Egg Whites ••

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs

1 pat of butter

1 cup of grated Swiss cheese

juice of freshly squeezed lemon


PREPARATION

•• Preheat the oven to 430 degrees. •• Thoroughly butter each individual soufflé dish, including the bottoms and the sides. •• Then lightly flour each dish. •• Separate the eggs, whites from the yolks and place into separate bowls. ••

•• Over the cooktop and without any heat under your saucepan, add 4 egg yolks into the Sauce Béchamel, using a small teaspoon, one at a time. •• Then mix throughly. •• Note that the saucepan should be cooled. If it is still too warm, you will have scrambled eggs! •• Bring the mixture up to a very smooth texture and observe a bright mustardy yellow color. •• Again, without any heat, mix in 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese, all at once and stir until completely smoothed. •• Set your saucepan aside. ••

•• Using a large whisk which allows for the passage of lots of air, vigorously whip the egg whites until you observe a thickened and frothy consistency (remember to keep your elbows locked to avoid tendonitis!). •• As you keep whipping, you will soon begin to see the egg whites change from frothy to fluffy and then harden. •• Feel free to add a few drops of fresh lemon to accelerate the hardening process further. •• In with hardening, the egg whites have transformed into a whipped creme that is sturdy enough for your whisk to stand straight up in the creme, without assistance. •• Using no heat and the measurement of 1/3, add the first 1/3 of the whipped creme to the bright yellow Sauce Béchamel and mix it throughly. •• Repeat with the second and third introduction as to avoid creating a watery consistency. Be aware not to over-mix as this too can result in watering down the mixture. •• Fill two individual soufflé dishes a little more than halfway, allowing space for the soufflés to rise. •• Place the dishes in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. •• This is now a great time to prepare a quick and simple fennel and orange salad to accompany your soufflés. ••

•• After approximately 15 minutes into the bake time, you should begin to notice an aroma that fills your kitchen, akin to the heavenly scent of a brioche baking in your oven. •• Although you may be tempted, take care not to open the oven door to observe the rising, as you will lose the heat needed to maintain a consistent temperature for the puff.  Also, do not reduce the temperature in the oven, as this will also cause the soufflé to prematurely fall. •• To check for readiness, use an oven light or flashlight to peer through the glass door of the oven. •• If you observe the height and puff of lighter coloration with a darkened top, your soufflé is ready. •• Insert a sharp knife to further ensure the soufflé has been throughly cooked to the center. If the knife comes back out clean, your soufflé is ready to be served, right away. •• Within 5-10 minutes from the removal the oven, you will see the inevitable collapse of these sumptuous soufflés.••

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 The cake-like appearance with chocolate frosting atop, indicates the readiness of your soufflé. Prêt à mange!