I always thought that Soufflé sounded more intimidating than what it really was to make. I remember the first time I made one was from a magazine recipe when I was a teenager and believe it or not it came out perfect; full of air with cheese melted all over, very dreamy and fluffy. I really had no idea, I just followed the recipe instructions very carefully, but then I fell in love with omelets and didn’t make them anymore.
I signed up for a cooking class with my husband a couple of months ago. I thought it would be great to have a “date night” cooking class (that was the name of the cooking class) on an early saturday evening. The problem was that the class was on an early friday evening instead and Guy wasn’t going to be able to attend since he had to work – I definitely spaced. So I changed the class for the “Secrets for Perfect Soufflés” as it had been ages since I made one and I only had the memory of that wonderful one I had that time. Besides, the sound of zucchini and goat cheese together had my name written all over it…..
There are a few things we should consider before we begin to make the soufflé – mise and place is important.
Prepare the dishes and prepare the ingredients so the process flows smoothly. I like to use small baking dishes (you can basically use a single large soufflé dish as well) since I like to serve each person with their single serving. You need to butter the dish evenly – bottom, sides and rim – and dust some parmesan or bread crumbs (if savory, granulated sugar if sweet) and knock off the excess. This way, the soufflé will have something to stick to as it rises.
The soufflé base is the flavor source of the soufflé. It should taste like is almost too strong so that when you incorporate the whites it will have just the right flavor. Most savory soufflés bases are based on béchamel sauce, a mix of butter and cooked flour whisked with milk. Try to always make it before you whisk the egg whites as they begin to deflate as they sit.
Always fold the the egg whites into the mixture, that way you will maintain the air and will not lose volume from the whipped whites.
Whipping the egg whites is the essential secret of a perfect soufflé. Make sure that the bowl, egg beaters and whisk that you will use to beat the egg whites are perfectly clean. You need to start whipping at a low-med speed until the whites look frothy, then turn the speed to medium and beat until they form firm peaks when the whisk is lifted out of the bowl. Try not to over-beat the whites since it will be too thick. Keep in mind that you are just trying to incorporate air into the whites so they will fold easily into your soufflé base.
When baking the soufflé keep the oven door closed. Try to maintain a steady temperature while the soufflés are rising. You can watch the process through the glass with the light on, but try to avoid opening and closing the door constantly. Anything that disturbs the temperature during the process will prevent the soufflé from rising.
Each soufflé will rise at least one two inches above the rim. You will know they are ready if the center is firm and set. Otherwise you will need to let it bake for another couple of minutes.
You can prepare your soufflé in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Your guests need to wait for the soufflé , the soufflé will not wait for anyone. The soufflé will begin to fall a few minutes after you remove them from the oven.
Recipe adapted from Sur la Table
Goat Cheese and Zucchini Soufflé
Yield: 4 (6 ounce) Soufflés
1 cup of zucchini, grated
1 tsp of salt, divided
1 1/2 tbsp of parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 tsp of black pepper
a pinch of ground cayenne (optional)
1/2 cup of whole milk
2 tbsp of unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins
1/8 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, room temperature, white and yolks separated
1/8 tsp of cream of tartar
1/2 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 tbsp of chives, minced
1/2 tbsp of basil, minced
1/2 tbs of dill, minced (optional)
Grate the zucchini and place in a colander with 1/2 tsp of salt and let drain for 15 minutes. Push and squeeze excess water with one handful at a time.
Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit and position the rack in the center of the oven. Lightly butter the bottoms, sides and rim of the ramekins. Dust with parmesan cheese and knock out the excess.
Bring the milk to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat once tiny bubbles appear around the edges. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the flour. Whisk until mixed and smooth for about 2 minutes. Slowly pour the warm milk into the mix or roux while whisking constantly Add the remaining salt, pepper, cayenne and cook until the mixture start to simmer and thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk vigorously for a minute. Start incorporating the egg yolks slowly, one at a time, whisking after each addition. After all yolks are incorporated, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside. This is the soufflé base.
Add egg whites and cream of tartar to a med-large bowl and start to whisk at low-med speed. Once the whites are frothy start to whisk at medium speed until the whites form stiff peaks (not clumpy or dry).
Add the goat cheese, zucchini and herbs into the soufflé base folding with a large silicone spatula. Then fold in one-third of the egg whites. When almost completely incorporated, add and fold the remaining egg whites in to pars, until all is combined and there are no white streaks.
Divide the mixture evenly and and distribute between the prepare ramekins. Run your clean finger around the inside edges of the dishes to wipe the stray butter mixture — this will help to achieve an even rise. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 375° Fahrenheit. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the soufflés are puffed and golden and the center is set. If center is too soft place back in the oven for a couple of minutes.
Grab each ramekin with tongs, place on individual plates and serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts are calculated based on 4 servings