Running from the Law: Savory Souffle

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Savory Souffle

Well, it's been a while since I posted anything on my Ten Most Difficult Recipes cooking challenge.  Have you been wondering how that was going?  Well, today is your lucky day.  We're crossing off the 5th recipe on the list: the savory soufflé! 

Have you ever had a savory soufflé?  No?  Me either.  I've had chocolate souffle and it's delicious.  But I've never had the desire to try a soufflé of the savory variety.  I decided to stay away from anything too complicated or heavy and went with a basic Cheese Soufflé.  Eggs and cheese...sounds good to me.

I started with Julia Child's cheese soufflé recipe from Epicurious, which can be found HERE.


2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)

First we prepare the soufflé dish. 
Butter the dish.
Grade Parmesan cheese.
Coat the dish with the cheese.

Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do not allow mixture to brown).
Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth.
Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg.
Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition.
Scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry.
Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature soufflé base to lighten.  "Lightening" makes it easier to add remaining whites without deflating them - it is the key technique to a soufflé.
Pour lightened sauce into egg whites and casually fold together.  Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyère cheese.   Repeat this until most of the whites and sauce are mixed - but don't fixate on a perfectly uniform mixture or you'll kill the bubbles and the soufflé won't rise.
Mmmm...cheese.  It was so hard not to just eat it.
Transfer batter to prepared dish.
Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently.
Takes about 25 minutes.

But DO NOT open oven door during first 20 minutes or you'll deflate it.

So many rules!  And I hate following rules when I cook.

But I did.

I was so worried that the damn thing wouldn't rise. 
I just stared at it the entire time it was baking.

I used mind power to make it rise.

When that didn't work, I resorted to whining.
When whining didn't work, I prayed to the cooking gods.
Yes, those are corn cob pot holders. 
I am a dork.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.
*NOTE: The recipe called for a 1.5 quart dish, but all I could find (because I was lazy and didn't want to go buy another one) was a 2.5 quart dish.   Since my dish was a little larger than it called for, my soufflé didn't rise as tall as it should have.  But, it did rise some!  I should have used smaller ramekins so I could have that dramatic over-the-top bursting from the sides soufflé look.  Damn, that would have been cool. 
Within the 30 seconds it took me to grab my camera, it deflated at least 2 inches. 
Ryan and I were really excited to try it.
Can't go wrong with eggs and cheese, right?
Wrong.  It kinda sucked. 

Ryan tasted it and gave me the strangest look I've ever seen.  After one bite I understood.  We just were not fans of the cheese soufflé.  It wasn't inedible or horrible, but the texture was a little weird and the cheese was a little pungent and the whole thing was just strange - fluffy pungent egg cake.  I think I did the recipe right, so it might just be that I don't like savory soufflés.  Maybe that's why I'd never had one. 


Lesson learned.

  When it comes to egg dishes, I think I'll be sticking to quiche from here on out. 

Other Ten Most Difficult Recipes challenge posts:


  1. There's a resturant here in Dallas that only makes souffles and from what I hear, it's very good. So, I'm blaming the recipe for your wonky souffle. Maybe it needed something else besides egg and cheese? Hm. I've never made a souffle, so, I don't know. I do know however, that chocolate souffles are amazing and that we should get together and make them. Soon. Just sayin'.

  2. I've never made a souffle so I have no idea, maybe it was the recipe (that's what I blame when my cooking doesn't turn out as well as expected!).

    I think it's so cool that you're making all of the different recipes in that list can't wait to read your other posts!

  3. I love it when you post your tales from the kitchen. I have never attempted to make a souffle, so more props to ya!

  4. Oh honey you go girl, I've never attempted souffle before!

    Sorry it turned out to be fluffy pungent egg cake (BTW cutest description of a failed kitchen experiment ever...almost as cute as you praying to the cooking gods with CORN COB oven mitts!! HAHA!)

    Love ya girly! xoxoxo

  5. I hate when something doesn't turn out like expected :( Still--you tried something new and that's exciting! A Souffle is on my list of things to try sometime!

  6. damn girl now you got me craving choc souffle... not so keen on the egg and cheese variety after this post tho haha. loving the oven mits :) xx

  7. Welcome to my world. Nothing like craving, cooking, buying ingredients and waiting...and getting a crap result.

    And, by the way, love the pot holders!

  8. What a bummer! Hey, you can't win them all though! I loved the pictures of you watching the oven, and I definitely loved the potholders!

  9. Can I just say that the fact you can take such gorgeous pictures while making such complicated food is almost more impressive than the dish itself? ;)

    I'm very impressed with your cooking challenge. It makes me want to upgrade our regular menu from its current pasta and/or grilled chicken blahness!

  10. Man that is too bad! The ingredients sounded like it would be delicious. I came across your blog through a friend and I have enjoyed reading it!

  11. I had such high hopes and was so sad for you at the end! :( But I love your corn-on-cob over mitts - you rock in my book.

    I really like anything with cheese - so I'm sorry it was blah!

  12. Fun post, beautiful souffle! I've had cheese souffle, and was similarly disappointed with the strange funky egg taste. It sounds so good in concept. I say, not your fault at all. Stick to chocolate souffle--YUM!

  13. What a great idea to try out difficult recipes. I can't imagine what this even tastes like, but glad you did it!