Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Souffle Au Fromage

I've always been a fan of Julia Child, and who isn't? Anyone who has any remote interest in food, loves Julia Child! Just last year, I purchased "Mastering The Art Of French Cooking", the first book Julia Child wrote (actually, she co-wrote the book, but it's about Julia, right now!), and her most well-known book to date.

The book almost didn't get published as initial publisher Houghton Mifflin, rejected the manuscript for being too much like an encyclopedia. Finally, when it was first published in 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf, the 734-page Mastering the Art of French Cooking was a best-seller and received critical acclaim that derived in part from the American interest in French culture in the early 1960s. Lauded for its helpful illustrations, precise attention to detail and for making fine cuisine accessible, the book is still in print and is considered a seminal culinary work.

Since seeing the newly released film, "Julie & Julia", I felt inclined to start making recipes from this, somewhat intimidating, book! I decided on "Souffle Au Fromage" or Cheese Souffle. This is one of Julia's more popular recipes and one I've been wanting to try as I've never even tasted a souffle before!

Getting all your ingredients measured out for this recipe is very important!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of a 6 cup souffle mold and sprinkle it with 1 Tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese. Now most American recipes for souffle often direct you to give the mold added height by tying a double strip of buttered foil or parchment paper around the souffle mold and removing it when it's done. According to Julia Child, this is nothing more than a nuisance, and not necessary.
In a heavy saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, slowly. Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour with a wooden spoon and cook over moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning.

Remove from heat; when the mixture has stopped bubbling, pour in 1 cup of milk, that's been heated just to boiling, all at once. Beat vigorously with a whip until blended. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt, 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

Return over moderately high heat and boil, stirring with the whip, for 1 minute. Sauce will be very thick.

Remove the sauce from the heat. If you haven't done so already, immediately start to separate 5 eggs. Drop the whites into a bowl, add 4 yolks into the center of the hot sauce and beat in well, one at a time. Note, ONLY 4 YOLKS in the sauce, but save 5 WHITES!! Adjust seasonings at this point.

Add your egg whites to a clean mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and beat until stiff.

Stir a big spoonful of the beaten whites into the sauce.

Stir in 1 cup (minus 1 tablespoon) of grated Swiss cheese.

Delicately fold in the rest of the egg whites. Be careful not to over-fold!! This is a very important step!

Turn the souffle mixture into the prepared mold, which should be almost 3/4 full. Tap bottom of mold lightly on the table, and smooth the surface of the souffle with the flat of a knife. Sprinkle the reserved tablespoon of Swiss cheese on top.

Set on a rack in the middle of a preheated 400 degree oven and immediately turn the heat down to 375 (DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR FOR 20 MINUTES!!).

In 25-30 minutes the souffle will have puffed about 2 inches over the rim of the mold, and the top will be nicely browned. Bake 4-5 more minutes to firm it up, then serve at once.

A well baked souffle will stay puffed for about 5 minutes in the turned off hot oven. As it cools, it begins to sink. Therefore, there should be no lingering when a souffle is to be eaten.

To serve a souffle, puncture the top lightly with a serving spoon and fork--held vertically--and spread it apart for each serving!

Bonjour, Bon Appetite!


  1. You've inspired me to give it a try! I've always been a bit fearful of failure with a souffle...

  2. I've never been brave enough to try making a souffle. Yours turned out perfectly!

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