Now that we’re collecting a steady stream of eggs, we’re moving outside of our normal cooking routine – I’m always casting my mind about for ideas of ways we can use the eggs. I knew at some point we’d have to try a soufflé – the prima dona of egg dishes – and I couldn’t think of a single reason to put it off, so yesterday I announced to Frank that dinner would be Cheese Soufflé. His initial reaction was something approximating a guffaw, but he buckled under the mounting pressure of eggs and my gung-ho attitude.
I turned to my favourite cookbook, The Settlement Cookbook (my copy is from 1938). Not only does it have the best recipes made from basic ingredients (no “add a can of cream of mushroom soup” to be seen) but it was my grandmothers and every time I use it, I think of her.
It listed 20 different soufflé recipes – everything from sweetbread (no chance I’ll ever try that) to orange (I’ll keep this one in mind for when my orange and mandarin trees are fruiting). For our first effort, it had to be a cheese soufflé though didn’t it? Okay, I confess, I considered chocolate, but cheese won the day.
Here’s the Cheese Soufflé recipe with a few mods based on other recipes and gut instinct (it’s so hard to make a recipe exactly as printed – at least for me).
- 4 eggs, separated (room temp)
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
– Melt butter and flour then, when they are bubbling, gradually add milk and salt.
– Add cheese and, once melted, remove from heat.
– When lukewarm, add beaten yolks then fold in beaten whites (firm, not dry).
– Butter and dust with flour, 1-4 baking dishes (we used 2 dishes making single serve main-course soufflés) and pour in egg mixture.
– Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F (180 C) over hot water for 40 mins. (30-60 mins depending on oven, size of baking dish,… It’s done when a sharp knife comes out clean.) Heat may be increased during the last 10-15 minutes. (We baked at 180 for 30 minutes, then raised the heat to 200 and baked 10 more minutes.)
– Serve immediately.
I have to admit I had my doubts that Frank and I could pull this off, but in the end, it was dead easy. Next time we’ll use a mixer to whip the eggs. Frank is very old-fashioned that way and wanted to use the hand whisk – and boy did he regret it. It took him long enough to get the eggs firm to make us question whether eggs straight out of the back of a chicken are harder to whip than old, store-bought eggs. I did a quick internet search and sure ’nuff – old eggs peak more readily (but maybe fresher raise more?). It will be a long time before we have old eggs so I’ll just break out the mixer next time.
Anyway, the taste and texture were fantastic. We both loved our soufflés and will make them again. We may even try being more creative (one of my cookbooks says soufflés are a great way to use up leftovers – you can throw just about anything in the mix).
One point worth mentioning is how filling these puppies are. We used 4 small eggs (our chickens lay slightly smaller than eggs we’d buy at the store) and figured we’d have room for some Brussels Sprouts. Frank managed a couple of sprouts but I couldn’t touch them. Not only was the soufflé filling, it was also very heavy on the gut (funny since it’s 80% air). Next time we’ll do a 2 egg soufflé for the 2 of us. We’re going to buy 4 smaller dishes so we can make this for friends and we’ll each get a mini one egg soufflé. That way maybe we can serve vegetables or a salad as well.
Update 30 April 2012: Last night we made this soufflé recipe for 4 people so put it in individual dishes. These only baked for 30 minutes and were perfectly done.
Sounds really good. Too bad we don’t live closer together so I could sample your souffle. Sande said her deviled eggs are a lot easier to make.
Too bad you don’t live closer so I could beg Sande to make me her deviled eggs. I’ll have to settle with begging her to email me the recipe (and any other good egg recipes she has).
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