Let's face it, soufflé's are a little scary to make. The thought of them falling before they get to the table is almost worse than forgetting to put pants on before going outside. However, this same unpredictable quality adds a wonderful magical surprise to any party when they DO make it to the table in tact. The oooo's and aaahhhhh's can be worth a little uncertainty.
Follow these basic intructions: use softened butter to flour and butter soufflé dish, whisk egg whites stiff but not dry just before folding into ingredients, and don't open the oven door until it has risen 3"-4". Voila! Soufflé's are broken down into two three parts: béchamel sauce, egg whites, & egg yolks.
SOUFFLE AU FROMAGE (Cheese Souffle):
Serves 4 people
100g gruyére grated
3 egg yolks
5 egg whites stiffly beaten
1 pinch of salt
Butter and flour 6-cup soufflé dish. (use softened butter)
Freshly ground pepper, salt, nutmeg to taste
1. Butter and flour soufflé dish up to the very top. Refrigerate.
2. Make roux for béchamel sauce in saucepan: melt butter over medium heat until foamy then whisk in flour. Let flour cook in butter (while whisking) to cook the glutens. 2-3 min. Don't let it brown.
3. Pour COLD milk into HOT roux and whisk briskly to form béchamel sauce. When it boils take off heat and add a generous pinch of salt & pepper. Add a small pinch of nutmeg.
4. Whisk egg yolks one by one into béchamel (off heat) and grated gruyére.
5. Whisk egg whites until very stiff but not dry. Add a pinch of salt as they become stiff.
6. Immediately mix 1/4 of egg whites into bechamel sauce to lighten it.
7. Pour béchamel sauce back over remaining egg whites and fold in with spatual. If you want the rustic look (like my pic below) then leave some white streaks. If you want the refined top hat look then fold quickly/gently until few eggwhite streaks remain.
8. Pour into soufflé dish leaving 1/2" space from the top. Make a 1/2" groove with your thumb around rim of batter to help it rise straighter. Be careful not to rub the inside of the dish.
9. Cook for around 20 min at 200˚-180˚C / 400˚-385˚F.
Check for done-ness after it has risen 3"-4". Touch the top lightly. If it feels firm with a slight wobble in the middle then it should be moist inside and dry outside. If you like it dryer then cook a little longer. BEWARE: an overcooked soufflé will deflate.