The soufflé, meaning “puffed up,” is a delicate French creation made simply by combining egg yolks with beaten egg whites and just a few of other ingredients. The combination causes the pastry to puff up when baked, hence the name. It sounds relatively easy, but anything with a fancy French name attached must carry some form of difficulty, right?
Well, don’t let the name intimidate you too much. There are a few tricks, which once followed, will make your soufflé fool-proof. First of all, pay careful attention to the egg whites. When separating the egg whites from the yolks, try to not let any yellow mix with the whites. This inhibits the ability for the egg whites to whip, so it’s best to have the cleanest whites you can get. Also, make sure that your bowl and whisks are clean and dry. Any trace of oil will prevent the egg whites from rising properly. Next, you want to make sure to whip the egg whites to the right consistency. You want to whip them until they are stiff and glossy peaks, meaning when you hold the whisk upside down, the whites hold firmly to the whisk.
When you are ready to fold the egg whites into the custard, you don’t want to deflate the egg whites. To help avoid deflating, first gently fold in one-third of the egg whites into the custard, mixing around the sides of the bowl and then straight down the middle. Next, add the rest of the egg whites into the custard and fold in the same motion. Be careful not to over-mix. Having a few streaks in the batter is better than deflated egg whites. Another trick is to prepare the ramekins properly. In order to get those perfectly even raised sides, you want to coat the ramekins completely in butter and sugar. This way, the batter will rise up the sides evenly and form a perfectly flat top.
Follow these easy tricks and tips and you’ll be mastering the soufflé in no time. Once you have the basics down, you can try sweet and savory variations that are sure to impress your guests.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.