Have any of you ever seen "The Producers"... The musical version? In addition to a spectacular dancing swastika, there is a song in the show that kept going through my head while I was whipping (literally whipping) this up...
There are a lot of reasons I should not have tried...LEO (Picture Matthew Broderick):
A Soufflé? Nah, that'd never work.MAX (Picture Nathan Lane):Oh ye of little faith.What did Lewis say to ClarkWhen everything looked bleak?What did Sir Edmund say to TenzingAs they struggled toward Everest's peak?What did Washington say to his troopsAs they crossed the DelawareI'm sure you're well aware...LEO:What'd they say?MAX:We can do it, we can do itWe can do it, me and youWe can do it, we can do itWe can make our dreams come trueEverything you've ever wantedIs just waiting to be hadBeautiful girls, wearing nothing but pearlsCaressing you, undressing youAnd driving you madWe can do it, we can do itThis is not the time to shirkWe can do it, you won't rue itSay goodbye to petty clerkHi, producer: yes, producerI mean you, sir, go beserk!We can do it, we can do itAnd I know it's gonna workWhatta ye say, Bloom?
No kitchenaid, heck, not even an electric mixer to get the egg whites stiff (just a whisk and a good right arm... but I used my left too, which is not as good... but I digress).
No Soufflé dish. Don't make fun of me, back in Kansas (Don't make fun of me for that either), I smoke cigars, drink beer from a bottle, cuss, scratch myself inappropriately and I like girls; but I do own a soufflé dish. Here in my temporary pleasure palace (US Virgin Islands if you are not paying attention), I do not have a grill nor a soufflé dish.
But I do have one thing going for me... my expanding learning curve of how things cook...
If the soufflé does not work, I can just punt, claim victory and declare a wonderful baked cheese and egg dish. For my visiting guests, till I put something in front of them, the "soufflé " word was never used.
But not to spoil the outcome, and not to brag (well maybe a little) my soufflé looked fabulous! So, if I can do it with my limitations, you can do this as well.
It helps that the recipe is so easy...
And before I get to that, I want to share some exciting news...
One of my favorite sites is THE MYSTERY LOVERS' KITCHEN. MLK is a fun site, with 6 very talented cooks alternating a weekly recipe posting. BUT, they also have another thing in common. Each contributor has a book (most a series of books), featuring recipes and or food as an important part of their murder mysteries. It takes a bit of reading before you get the hang of which lady and which personality is cooking on any particular day. But then, I am married, so I am used to one site (person) with borderline criminal schizophrenic personalities. So I enjoy the blog a lot.
While everyone probably will pick their favorite writers, it is difficult for me to pick a single favorite of the six. Let's just say that 5 of the ladies do not regularly post Brussels sprouts recipes, while one, despite acknowledging that those sprout posts receive fewer hits and comments (if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything), one of the six insists on posting sprout recipes (like today). So, my favorites are obvious... But I digress...
One of the stars of THE MYSTERY LOVERS' KITCHEN is Avery Aames. Avery has a new book, new series being released soon. The sassy owner of an artisan cheese shop who also loves a tasty mystery, fights crime and feeds cheese lovers. "The Long Quiche Goodbye" (don't you love that title) is due to be released soon, and you can pre-order now! Recently Avery did a post of a recipe she is researching for use in a future book in the series. I loved the possibilities and started thinking about if... And here is where you sing that "We can do it" song listed above...
Here's what Avery said to do...
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons flour
1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) butter
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups milk, hot
4 large egg yolks
6 ounces Gouda, grated
5 egg whites plus 1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon cream of tartar (or you may use baking powder)
Use room temperature 1 tablespoon of butter to grease an eight-inch soufflé mold. Add the grated Parmesan and coat the butter with it. Set in the freezer for five minutes [to make the cheese stick to the butter.]
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, heat the other 3 tablespoons of butter.
Add the hot milk to the mixture and turn the heat to high. When it starts to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat.In a separate bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, salt. Whisk the mixture into the melted butter.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks. Slowly…mix the eggs into the milk mixture, stirring constantly. Add the cheese and stir until smooth and creamy.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar or baking powder until stiff. Fold into the hot milk/cheese mixture by thirds.Gentle, gentle. When incorporated, pour the mixture into the soufflé dish.
Place on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
Note: This soufflé will sink the moment it’s served. It’s a shame, but that’s the way it goes.
And here is what I did...
OK, I probably should have shown a better photo of the dish I used, but it is round (important). It is stainless steel, and NOT ceramic, as a soufflé dish should be. it is rounded a bit at the bottom, but the important part is the round shape and the tall sides. My bowl is about 8 inches tall, which gave three inches of room around the side for the soufflé to climb up the side.
The tip that Avery gave about freezing the butter and Parmesan cheese coated pan (dish) prior to pouring the hot egg/cheese mixture in is inspired. A soufflé rises best when it has something to climb. In this case, the egg climbs up the cheese. Using this technique, you will get a much taller rise from your soufflé. And, let's face it, in addition to the light fluffy texture, the dramatic presentation are the best reasons to go to the trouble of a soufflé.
It probably would have worked better if I could have grated my fresh Parmesan finer, but I only have one grater, and this is the size I got. In reality, it worked great. the soufflé rose three inches to the lip of the pan (dish), PLUS an additional 3 inch rise above. In reality, this is the largest rise I have ever gotten when attempting to make a soufflé.
As Avery said, add the egg slowly. It is a tough thing to do, have the roux hot enough to melt the cheese without over cooking the eggs. Just know to not have it boiling hot, not even simmering hot, just warm. If you add the cheese slowly, it will melt without cooking the eggs.
And of course, as Avery says, stiff egg whites are key. All those hours holding up that Farrah Fawcett poster with one hand has finally paid off, as it took at least 20 minutes of constant whisking to get my peaks stiff. But I did it! I didn't want them to fall, so I folded them in before I got a photo, but trust me... they were stiff.
Also important is to (as Avery Said) only FOLD the whites in. Do not undo all your whisking by over mixing the whites into the yolk/cheese mixture.
And work very quick. have your pan (dish) handy, have your oven pre-heated. You want to get the egg yolk/cheese/egg white mixture in the oven as fast as possible.
When the time to take it out of the oven comes, be ready to have everyone look. A soufflé falls. It is what it does. No getting around it. But it will last the few minutes it takes to remove, listen to the praise of your guests, and slice into. just don't listen too long.
I had the wrong pan.. and no electric mixing device. If I can do it... you can too. In the words of Mel Brooks...
Why, you miserable, cowardly, wretched little caterpillar!
Don't you ever want to become a butterfly?
Don't you want to spread your wings and flap your way to glory?
We can do it
We can do it
We can grab that holy grail!
MAKE THAT HOLY GRAIL SOUFFLÉ! YOU CAN DO IT!
And Avery, thanks for the recipe, and best of luck with the publication of the first in the series! And one more thing Avery... Thanks for NOT writing a Brussels Sprouts salesman series. Trust me, it would never sell.