Friday, March 29, 2013
If there is anything that reality cooking shows have taught me is that the humble oft maligned soufflé is setting one’s self up for disaster and disappointment for what will be the inevitable deflated result. Ironically you have certain people screaming and shouting on their TV shows at some poor sap and their soggy mess, but in their cookbooks insist on how easy and foolproof their method is, mixed messages much? Any how, with a glut of eggs in the fridge and a need to use them up, I had to make something, and I am well and truly over frittata and baked eggs, I set my sights on the Everest of egg dishes, cheese soufflé, I guess rather disappointingly soufflé is not a hard dish to make and really not all that likely to fail, that is unless you really try.
Before starting making the base and whisking up the egg whites, preheat the oven to 190°C and grease a large ramekin(s) or soufflé dish with butter and coat with finely grated parmesan, then place it in the freezer.
5 Egg yolks
300 ml Milk*
30 g Butter
1 tbsp Flour
110 g Cheese (I had gouda, and used the leftover parmesan from coating the ramekin)
* For the milk, heat it up on the stove and let it infuse with a bay leaf, clove of garlic, peppercorns and half a peeled onion, this will give the milk a nice savoury flavour.
While the milk is infusing, in a large bowl whisk the egg yolks until they have about tripled in volume and have turned a pale yellow colour. After the good arm workout, place a pot over a medium heat and melt the butter, you want to get rid of as much moisture as possible but be careful not to brown it, so once the foaming has subsided stir in the flour, you don’t want any colour just cook out the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk (strained) and gently cook until thick and smooth, don’t worry if it starts off a bit lumpy they should eventually disappear. Now the tricky bit, kind of anyway, and an extra pair of hands helps, whilst vigorously whisking the egg yolks slowly pour the béchamel into the yolks, once fully incorporated stir in the cheese, taste and season accordingly. Cover with plastic wrap right on top of the base to prevent a skin forming.
5 Egg whites
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
In an immaculately clean bowl whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar to stiff peaks, the cream of tartar helps prevent over whisking and stabilise the foam.
Getting it all together
Take a spoonful of white and beat into the base mixture, this will help the rest incorporate, then in thirds carefully fold the rest of the whites in. Remove the dish from the freezer and place on a sheet pan, pour in the soufflé mix leaving a little headroom, place in the oven and cook for 25-35 minutes, however long it takes to cook leave it well alone for the first 20 minutes.