Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rosie Makes A Souffle.

A souffle is one of my favorite things to eat.
Mr. Hawthorne says eating a souffle
 is like biting into a cloud.
A souffle is celebratory
and champagne and souffle make for a perfect pairing.
The billowy lightness of the souffle with the bubbly
 is, indeed, a pleasurable sensation.
I have a happy palate.

3 TB unsalted butter
extra butter to grease the souffle dish
enough grated Asiago cheese, to cover buttered dish
3 TB flour
1 cup scalded milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
cayenne pepper
nutmeg, freshly grated
4 egg yolks, room temperature
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
about 3 ounces bleu cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Butter the inside of an 8-cup souffle dish (7 1/2 inches in diameter, 3 1/4 inches deep), and sprinkle inside evenly with Asiago.

First, make a roux:
Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.  Add in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.  You want to cook the flour, but not brown it.  Remove from heat and whisk in the milk.  I used 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream because that's what I have on hand.  Add in salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg.  Return to low heat, whisking constantly for about a minute, until smooth and thick.

Remove from heat and whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. 
Stir in the bleu cheese and the Gruyere and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in bowl of electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on low speed for 1 minute.  Increase to medium speed for 1 minute, then beat at high until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Whisk 1/4 of the whites into the cheese sauce to lighten it, then fold in the rest of the whites.  Pour into prepared souffle dish.  Draw a circle on top to help the souffle rise evenly.  Place in middle of oven and turn temperature down to 375 degrees.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until souffle rises and is puffy and brown.  Serve immediately.

Let the eggs come to room temperature.
Makes for better volume.

Gruyere cheese.
Grate 1/4 cup.

I grated enough Asiago cheese to evenly coat the souffle dish.
This gives the eggs something to pull up on as they rise.

My wedge of bleu cheese weighed 2.7 ounces.

The recipe called for milk,
which I assume means whole milk.
I never have whole milk on hand,
but I always have skim milk and heavy cream.
I used half skim and half cream,
which I scalded.

Melt butter over low heat.

Add in flour and cook for a minute or two,
stirring constantly.
You want to cook the raw out of the flour.

Don't brown the roux.

Remove from heat and gradually add in the milk, whisking.

Add in salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg.

 Return mixture to heat and cook, stirring constantly,
for about a minute.

This is the consistency you want -
a rubbery blob that holds together.

Add in the eggs, one at a time,
whisking after each addition.

Add in grated Gruyere.

Add in crumbled bleu cheese.

Now, I'm ready to start on the egg whites.
Add in 1/8 tsp cream of tartar to the room temperature egg whites.

When you're beating egg whites,
always have them at room temperature.
This allows for higher volume.
If you're having trouble beating egg whites
to stiff peaks,
it can be from one of several causes.
If there's the tiniest bit of yolk in with the whites,
you won't be able to form stiff peaks.
Contamination from moisture, oil,
or detergent on your utensils will also affect egg beatery.
You should never use a plastic bowl
to beat egg whites,
since fat molecules are attracted to some plastics,
and there may be a film inside the bowl.
Use a metal or glass bowl.

As for the cream of tartar,
this is used not so much to affect the stiffness
to which egg whites can be beat,
but rather to keep beaten egg whites from collapsing
and having the resultant liquid
pool in the bottom of the bowl.

One minute at low speed.

One minute at medium speed.

High speed until it gets glossy.

You want stiff peaks.

Yolk and cheese mixture on left;
whupped whites on right.

Stir in about 1/4 of the whites to lighten the egg mixture.

Pour in the rest of the whites and ...

... gently fold until well combined.

Pour into souffle dish.

Draw a circle with your spatula.

I baked this about 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven,
Never open the oven to check on a souffle.
It will deflate.

Oh, this is perfect.

This is beyond perfect.

Serve immediately or ...

... it deflates.

Cheers, all.

Champagne and souffle.

It truly doesn't get much better than this.

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