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Julia's Superb Soufflés
Gourmet cheeses on sale now at igourmet

“The soufflé is undoubtedly the egg at its most magnificent,
the egg in all its puffing power.

~ Julia Child

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A Street Market, Paris, France
A Street Market, Paris, France
Victor Gabriel...
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 Fresh Eggs
Fresh Eggs
Dan Dipaolo
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Cheese Shop, Paris, France
Cheese Shop, Paris, France
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Bowman, Charles
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The Eiffel Tower, Paris
The Eiffel Tower, Paris
Martin Diebel
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Menu for Bistrot Du Peintre, Art Nouveau Design, Paris, France
Menu for Bistrot Du Peintre, Art Nouveau Design, Paris, France
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Karlsson, Per
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La Belle Cuisine


Julia Child on Soufflés

The Way to Cook
© 1989 by Julia Child (A Borzoi Book
published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.)

“The soufflé is undoubtedly the egg at its most magnificent, the egg in all its
puffing power. How impressive is the chocolate or cheese soufflé, its head
rising dramatically out of its dish, and swaying ever so slightly as it is borne
to the table.
Fortunately, a reasonably well-assembled soufflé can be an automatic happen-
stance: a flavor base into which beaten egg whites are incorporated. When the
mixture is baked, the heat of the oven expands the air bubbles in the egg whites
and the whole mass rises. It stays puffed the few minutes needed to serve it;
then, as it cools, the air bubbles deflate and the soufflé collapses. Soufflés are
not difficult when you have mastered the beating of egg whites and the folding
of them into the soufflé base.”

The egg whites

 [A typical Julia lesson – everything you ever wanted to know about beat-
ing egg whites…Thank you Julia!] Stiffly beaten egg whites have multiple
uses, from spongecakes to floating island to soufflés. Again the bowl
and beater are of great importance. They must be clean, with no trace
of oil or grease, and not even a speck of egg yolk should be among the
whites since oil, grease, and yolk prevent the whites from mounting into
a mass of tiny bubbles.
Whether or not you are using a copper bowl, it’s a good idea to pour a
tablespoon of vinegar into the bowl and a teaspoon of salt. Rub the bowl
clean with paper towels, but do not wash it – the traces of vinegar and
salt help stabilize the egg whites.

Turn the egg whites into the bowl and if they are chilled, set the bowl in
a larger bowl of warm water for a minute or two, until your impeccably
clean finger feels them to be of room temperature. Chilled whites do not
mount well, and tend to fleck.
Using a giant balloon whip, or a hand-held electric mixer, or a mixer on a
stand, start beating the egg whites at moderately slow speed until they are
foaming throughout – 2 minutes or so. Add a pinch of salt (unless you
have rubbed the bowl with salt before you started in,) and add [the] cream
of tartar – a stabilizer. Gradually increase the speed to fast (moderately fast
if you have a heavy-duty mixer) and continue until soft peaks are formed.
Gradually beat in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue until stiff shining
peaks are formed.

Folding – combining the egg whites and the soufflé base

For maximum puff, the beautifully beaten egg whites must retain their
volume when they are incorporated. To help retain it, a quarter of the
whites are stirred into the base to lighten it so that the remainder may
be folded in easily.
[Another great lesson from Julia]: You can beat your egg whites to perfec-
tion. But unless you fold them rapidly and expertly into your cake or soufflé
batter, you will deflate them and neither your cake nor your soufflé will rise
to its proper height. Here’s how:
Have your… soufflé batter in a roomy pan or bowl. Stir a quarter of the egg
whites into the batter to loosen it – an important point, since if the batter is stiff, you will deflate the egg whites as you attempt to blend them. Then turn the rest
of the egg whites on top. Plunge a large rubber spatula sideways, like a knife,
down through the center of the egg whites to the bottom of the pan [illustration included in cookbook]. Rapidly bring the spatula to the near edge of the pan,
and rotate it so its flat side brings some of the batter up over the egg whites.
Rotate the pan slightly, and rapidly repeat the plunging-scooping turn of the
spatula 7 to 8 times, until the egg whites and batter are blended – do not over-
blend or you will deflate the egg whites.

When is it done?

A soufflé baked in a dish should puff 2 to 3 inches over the rim, and the
top should be nicely browned. The puff should hold up when you release
the collar just a little bit to check – if the puff sags, rapidly refasten the
collar and bake a few minutes more. If you want the puff to hold and
the soufflé to stand a reasonable time, test it by plunging a skewer down
into the side of  the puff: if wet particles cling to it the soufflé will be
creamy inside and will not hold as long as if the skewer comes out
almost clear. The fateful decision is up to you.

Special Note

 For drama, you choose a dish that’s a little too small, so that the soufflé
puffs into a collar. When the collar is removed the puff holds itself 2 to
3 inches over the rim of the dish. Use a double thickness of buttered foil
that will rise 3 inches over the top of the dish; secure the collar by insert-
ing a straight pin head down – for easy removal.

Master Recipe

Cheese Soufflé

For soufflés baked in a dish, soufflé toppings, and soufflé roulades

“The basic soufflé is a white sauce – béchamel – enriched with
egg yolks and cheese, into which beaten egg whites are folded.”

Timing: You will undoubtedly feel safer hovering over your oven during
your first soufflé experiences. After two or three you’ll have the confi-
dence to set the timer and take yourself off until it summons you back
into the kitchen.

For a 1-quart baking dish 8 inches across, serving 4

 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan or
other hard cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup hot milk
Seasonings: 1/2 teaspoon paprika, speck of nutmeg,
1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3 grinds of white pepper
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites (2/3 cup)
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces coarsely grated Swiss cheese

Special Equipment Suggested: A buttered baking dish 7 1/2 to 8 inches
top diameter, 3 inches deep; aluminum foil; a heavy-bottomed 2 1/2-quart saucepan; a wire whisk, wooden spoon, and large rubber spatula; egg-white beating equipment

Preliminaries. Roll the grated cheese in the buttered baking dish to cover
the bottom and side, and fasten on the aluminum collar (see Special Note).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and set the rack in the lower third level. Measure out all the ingredients listed [mise en place!]
The white sauce – béchamel.
Following [these detailed directions] stir and
cook the butter and flour together in the saucepan over moderate heat for 2
minutes without coloring. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, then pour
in all the hot milk and whisk vigorously to blend. Return to heat, stirring
with a wooden spoon, and boil slowly 3 minutes. The sauce will be very
thick. Whisk in the seasonings and remove from the heat.
Finishing the sauce base.
One by one, whisk the egg yolks into the
hot sauce.
The egg whites.
In a clean separate bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg
whites to stiff shining peaks as described [above].
Finishing the soufflé mixture.
Scoop a quarter of the egg whites on top
of the sauce and stir them in with a wooden spoon. Turn the rest of the
egg whites on top; rapidly and delicately fold them in, alternating scoops
of the spatula with sprinkles of the coarsely grated cheese – adding the
cheese now makes for a light soufflé.
Ahead-of-time note:
You may complete the soufflé to this point 1/2 hour
or so in advance; cover loosely with a sheet of foil and set away from drafts.

Baking – 25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees F and 375 degrees F. Set in
the preheated oven, turn the thermostat down to 375 degrees F, and bake
until the soufflé has puffed 2 to 3 inches over the rim of the baking dish
into the collar, and the top has browned nicely (see “When is it done?”
notes preceding this section).

As soon as it is done, remove the collar, then bring the soufflé
to the table. To keep the puff standing, hold your serving spoon and
fork upright and back to back; plunge them into the crust and tear it
apart [illustrated in cookbook].

Spinach or Broccoli Soufflé

After completing the white sauce, stir in 1/4 to 1.3 cup of cooked
chopped fresh spinach or broccoli that you have warmed in butter,
shallots and seasonings. Cut down on the grated Swiss cheese –
1/3 to 1/2 cup should be enough.

Crab, Lobster, or Shrimp Soufflé

Substitute finely chopped or finely diced shellfish for the vegetables in
the preceding suggestion. A Hollandaise sauce or… white butter sauce
would be attractive accompaniments.

Salmon Soufflé (or other cooked fish)

Stir flaked cooked salmon or other fish, or canned salmon, into the finished
white sauce. Two or three tablespoons of shallots sautéed in butter are often helpful for fish other than salmon, as well as a spoonful or two of minced
fresh dill or parsley. In some instances you may wish to accompany the
soufflé with a lightly cooked fresh tomato sauce… or a colorful piperade
(sautéed onions with strips of red and green peppers…).

Julia's Superb Soufflés continued... Dessert Soufflés!

Featured Archive Recipes:
Quiche - from the Simple to the Sublime
Julia's Savory Puffs
Chocolate Soufflé
(Jacques Torres)

Hot Chocolate Soufflés
(Alice Medrich)

Chocolate Molten Soufflé
(Commander's Palace)

Chocolate Soufflé Cakes with
White Chocolate Sauce

Floating Islands
Frozen Peach and Amaretti Soufflés
Meringues Glacées

A Tribute to Julia Child
More Lagniappe Recipes!
Index - Main Dish Recipes
Index - Miscellaneous Dessert Recipes
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