I don’t know if any of you watch Master Chef but we watched it religiously each week and thoroughly enjoy it. It’s a reality show starring Gordan Ramsey and they are looking for America’s best amateur cooks. Well, on an episode a few weeks back the cooks were challenged to prepare a cheese souffle. Joel and I have never had souffle and our interest was peaked after watching the show. I was promptly challenged by Joel to a souffle cook-off. I gladly (and maybe with a bit of cockiness) accepted the challenge. I am the cook in the family so I was feeling pretty confident in my skills and ability to stomp him.
But…Joel is good at everything he tries and he puts his whole heart and soul into everything he does (one of the reasons I love him so much). So, I was a bit worried but I wouldn’t let him know that!
Souffles are known to be difficult to cook because timing is everything. You don’t want it undercooked causing it to not properly rise and possibly collapse. Since we didn’t really know what we were looking for it was all on chance and a little luck that we would pull them out at the right time.
Joel was up first and it took him about an hour and a half (including baking time) to prepare his souffle. He beat the egg whites by hand which took him forever. When he removed it from the oven, it was nicely golden brown and didn’t collapse. It was cheesy, egg-y and pretty firm throughout. When he was adding the salt, it overflowed a bit causing the souffle to be a bit salty. But overall, it was pretty darn good.
After about a half hour, I had mine in the oven and removed it after it was golden and puffed with a little jiggle in the middle. Mine turned out less browned on the sides and a little wetter in the middle. And less salty. After discussing, we decided that mine was better but only by a smidge. Neither puffed the way a souffle is supposed to (I don’t think we beat the egg whites enough) but I think it was a great first try for both of us! And it marks off one of my Top 100!
Now I’m dying to try a chocolate souffle.
recipe from Epicurious
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)
1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400F.Butter 6-cup (1 1/2-quart) soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do not allow mixture to brown). Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
3. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyère cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.
4. Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375F. Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first 20 minutes). Serve immediately.