For even the most experienced cooks, making a soufflé can be intimidating. I’ve begun to play around with soufflé recipes, each time remembering a couple of tricks to ensure my soufflé always rises.
To begin, you make a white roux, cooking melted butter with flour until the raw scent of the flour is gone. As long as you keep your heat on medium or medium-high, and watch and stir your roux, it won’t burn. To the roux, you add seasonings and milk to create the béchamel. The key here is to essentially bring this mixture to a boil, constantly stirring the bottom so the roux dissolves into the milk, which will cause the mixture to thicken. How thick is thick? You want the mixture to stop moving clockwise when you stop stirring it clockwise.
I also don’t use cream of tartar when whipping my egg whites. Instead, I always make sure there are no traces of egg yolk in my whites, and that I whip them to stiff peaks (I still raise the bowl upside down with a little shake to test this). Once I fold the whites together with the cheese, I’m very gentle, taking care to not deflate my whites, or the soufflé won’t rise.
This is a simple soufflé recipe that you can put on the table within an hour. Serve with a hearty green salad with beets, or simply alone for a light appetizer. Just remember to serve it immediately, before it begins to fall as it cools.
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Tory McPhail is the James Beard Award-winning chef at New Orleans' legendary Commander's Palace, and this is his recipe for the restaurant's most famous dessert, bread pudding soufflé with whiskey sauce.
The soufflé, meaning “to puff up,” is a delicate French cake made simply of combining egg yolks with beaten egg whites and just a few of other ingredients. The combination of custard and egg whites causes the pastry to puff up when baked, hence the name.
Five ingredients, 15 minutes, and just 160 calories — wow! The first time through may take a few extra minutes, but after making these once you will be amazed at how fast these impressive soufflés come together. To serve, dust with cocoa or powdered sugar, adorn with fresh raspberries, or add a dollop of light whipped topping.