Post by Alison Hein.
Fleeting things are special – the rosy, amber hues of the setting sun; long, balmy summer days; and puffed-up, golden soufflés, just waiting to be devoured.
Soufflés are a little tricky, but perhaps not as complicated as you think. Try to follow these rules when making them:
- Be gentle when folding the beaten egg whites into the batter. The aerated whites are what give you the rise. Just go slowly – lift and fold, lift and fold – and suddenly your batter will be mixed and light.
- Do not open the oven door to peek at your soufflés until they have been baking for at least 20 minutes. The sudden change in temperature may cause them to drop.
- Have everyone ready and waiting at the table with spoons in hand. When finished baking, the soufflés will only stay puffed up (and super impressive) for a few minutes. This is the part you want everyone to experience (and admire).
Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, soufflés are immeasurably variable – sweet or savory, spicy or mild. Try using different cheeses for a quick change. I used a quattro fromaggio blend which gave the soufflés a little kick. Swiss provides a lovely mellow flavor, and tangy cheddar turns a beautiful orangey gold.
Whip some up. Indulge in the pleasures of a fleeting (and impressive) breakfast in bed.
2 tablespoons unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup grated cheese
6 4-inch ramekins
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray each ramekin with cooking spray. Sprinkle breadcrumbs in ramekins, tapping and turning to lightly cover bottom and sides, discarding any excess.
Melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Beat in egg yolks one at a time.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into egg batter, then fold in grated cheese. Fill each of the ramekins with batter – they should be about ¾ full. Tap the bottoms of the ramekins lightly on the work surface so batter fills the bottom, then smooth the top with a butter knife.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until soufflés are puffed up and lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.