Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rosie Makes A Souffle.

I was watching Ina the other day because Dr. Oz wasn't on (Sad, but honest, statement about my life.) and Ina was making a souffle. I haven't made a souffle in a while and after having several lousy meals at various restaurants of late, a souffle sounded like a really good idea. Many of you might be slightly intimidated by the idea of making a souffle. Rosie's here to tell you not to be. I'm going to give you a step by step pictorial, showing you what the egg mixture is supposed to look like throughout and explain the process. The most important element is your mise en place. Have everything ready to go. Then double check with the recipe. This recipe is adapted from Ina's:
Cheese and Spinach Souffle 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/3 cup skim milk 2/3 cup heavy cream 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg Pinch of cayenne pepper Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 large egg yolks, at room-temperature 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese, lightly packed 3-4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, steamed, with the water squeezed out. 5 large egg whites, at room temperature 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Butter the inside of a 1.6 liter souffle dish and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Combine milk and cream and scald. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk mixture, the nutmeg, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.

Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the Cheddar, the Parmesan, and the spinach and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until the whites form firm, glossy peaks.

Whisk one quarter of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest. Pour into the souffle dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the souffle rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Ina says to bake for 30 to 35 minutes until puffed and brown and center is set.

I cooked mine in pure convection mode in my oven for 42 minutes.

And, if anyone's wondering, my oven, which broke on Friday, December 16, is still broken. Haven't heard from the last repairman since he had to order a part that was supposed to be here last week. But I did find out one interesting piece of information from the repairman. He said the oven would work if I used it on Pure Convection, since that worked on a different panel than all the other settings on my oven.

Well, thank you very much.

That's nice to know almost 3 weeks after the fact.

Here's Rosie's mise en place.
3 TB butter 3 TB flour Ina called for 1 cup of milk, which I take to be whole milk, but we never have that on hand. We do have heavy cream and skim, so I mixed 1/3 skim and 2/3 heavy cream. The milk needs to be scalded. 5 egg whites, room temperature 4 egg yolks, room temperature Normally, it would take several hours for eggs to come to room temperature after taking out of the refrigerator. I didn't have time to wait, so I put them in a bowl of hot water. The eggs were ready by the time I got my mise en place done. 1/8 tsp cream of tartar pinch cayenne 1/2 cup cheddar, grated 1/4 Parmesan cheese, grated bowl of loosely packed fresh spinach, maybe 3 cups
I buttered and Parmesaned a 1.6 liter straight-sided souffle dish. The Parmesan gives the souffle something to hang on to so it can climb up the sides easier.
Over low heat, melt butter.
Add in flour and cook for 2 minutes.
I scalded my milk and cream mixture and ...
... slowly whisked it into my roux.
When you first pour in the milk, the mixture seizes up, like this.
Keep adding milk, whisking.
Adding and whisking ...
... until you get a smooth, creamy base. Remove from heat.
Grated nutmeg in.
Cayenne in.
Return to low heat and cook, whisking, over low heat, for one minute. When whisking blob of flour mixture, the mixture pulls together and is almost rubbery-looking. You can easily slide it around in the pan. It will stay in a blob. That's the consistency you want.
Next, whisk in the yolks, one at a time. And yes, that yolk went in all by itself.
Previously, I had steamed my spinach and squeezed the water out. I prefer fresh spinach to frozen. Frozen spinach tastes slightly bitter to me. Ina's recipe called for a package of chopped frozen. I think a whole package would be too much spinach. This little hand-sized ball was perfect.
Chop. Chop.
Grated cheddar in.
Grated Parm in.
You know how I like my action shots.
Spinach in.
Stir all ingredients together.
Next, I started on my egg whites. I added the cream of tartar to the whites and started beating on low. After a minute, increase speed to medium. Another minute, increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
This is a stiff peak. Soft peaks would slump over.
Measure out about 1/4 of the egg white mixture and ...
... add it to the yolk mixture.
Stir it in until ...
... it's evenly combined. What you're doing here is lightening the yolk base.
Add in the rest of the whites and ...
... gently fold in. Cut into the center with your spatula, lift, and turn over. Turn the bowl as you do this. In about 2 turns of the bowl, your mixture should be ready as you slice and lift 3-4 times each rotation of the bowl. You want the yolk mixture and the whites just combined. Light. You want light.
It should be very fluffy, like this. Pour into prepared pan.
Make a little circle around the top. Makes for even rising.
Put the souffle in the center of a 400 degree oven. Turn temperature back to 375. Ina says bake for 30-35 minutes. Because my regular oven is broken, and I just found out from the repairman that the Pure Convection setting will work since it's on a different panel, I ended up baking this for 42 minutes. Never open the oven door when baking a souffle. And it's best not to jump around like a gymnast either. You can make the souffle fall.
As soon as the souffle comes out of the oven, dinner is served. As in immediately. Everything else for the meal should have been made and ready to serve. A souffle waits for no one. It immediately starts to deflate, so take it to the table with dashing elan and serve immediately amidst the oohs and ahhs of your guests.
Mr. Hawthorne said, "This is like biting into a cloud. A really good tasting cloud."
Oh my.
This was ethereal.


Marilyn said...

Dang it, Rosie, now I gotta go buy a souffle dish!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Mar, get the whole set of
straight-sided dishes from cup-sized ramekins to the large 1.6 liter size.
I've made terrific individual souffles in the cup-sized ones.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

See here: