Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cheese and Spinach Souffle - Single serving in a cup

Souffle... Say the word out loud, go ahead, I'll wait.

What a beautiful sounding word.  Just the word conjures up images of luxury for the eater, and looming disaster for the cook.  

But, I tell the nay...

Nay I tell thee.

When it works.... Such beauty.

I will admit, they are just a tiny bit complicated, but in reality, a series of tiny steps make this a guaranteed success for anyone.  But, a souffle does not work the next day.  It's one of those dishes that you need to make, eat and remember, all in one setting.  So, I decided to try a single serve souffle.  It was to be a side dish, and a cup of souffle is a perfect size...

Just a standard coffee cup.  If it's microwave safe, it is safe to use in the oven.

Here's what I did...

This recipe is for TWO cups, 2 servings

2 TBS butter, room temperature
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

2 TBS flour
2 TBS butter
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cups milk, hot
2 la
rge egg yolks
3 egg whites plus 1 tablespoon water
3 ounces Chedder, grated@20 large Spinach Leaves Cut into thin 1/2 inch strips
½ teaspoon cream of tartar (or you may use baking powder)

Use room temperature 1 tablespoon of butter to grease each coffee cup. 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 2 tablespoons of butter. and combine the flour to make a roux.
  • Add the hot milk to the roux 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. 
  • 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.
  • Add the spinach and mix.
  • 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 cups (about half way).
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.
Here are some photos that might help give you an idea of what I did...

The tip about freezing the butter and Parmesan cheese coated cup 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 a full inch above the lip of the cup.

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, 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 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.

Made a nice side dish to a pan seared steak and taters!



  1. That looks really really good. I love just about any type of souffle and I love the fact that they are single servings. This will be great one night when it is just me and the hubby at home for dinner. Thanks!

  2. This sound so super easy and tasty for a side.. I must make it!! Thanks!

  3. That looks so good, Dave! I must admit, I feel totally classy when I'm eating a souffle. yup...weird like that...

  4. It looks nice! A perfect side dish!

  5. I love this - what an elegant and easy breakfast/brunch addition.

  6. Adorable AND elegant--not a common combination! Souffles are great on their own but I really like the idea of eating one alongside a steak! Nice job.

  7. Good Stuff!
    I'm going to see if I multiply the recipe by 4 if it will work for a dinner party I am having soon. I'll do a test run.

  8. My favorite line - "make, eat, and remember all in one sitting".

  9. Dave... Dave... Dave. You know how much I love individual foods. Thanks for giving me another wonderful recipe.

  10. this is one thing i've never made....the intimidating souffle. But man, do those look good

  11. Mmmm...delicious!!I'm so hungry now I'd eat it right away... (And I've just had breakfast... I'm a bottomless pit!)

  12. Cool trick, Dave. I use ramekins for servings like this but the coffee mug is a fun switch from that.

  13. I've been wanting to try a souffle for a long time, but I don't have rammekins. I love the idea of doing it in a coffee mug! I never thought of that. Thanks for the idea!

  14. I love the idea of the coffee mug, taking something as upscale as a souffle and bringing down to ev one by swapping plate to a mug. Perhaps someone can help me. I lost a Thanksgiving staple recipe for savory steamed carrot pudding. If anyone has a recipe and would be willing to share, I would be most appreciative. Find me at thnx

  15. I like the idea of ​​coffee cups, when something as high as the soufflé, and knocks down the EV by changing a glass plate. Maybe someone can help me. I lost my recipe for carrot pudding, a staple of Thanksgiving savory steamed. If anyone has the recipe and would be willing to share, I'd be grateful.

  16. I LOVE that idea, and you make it look so easy with the series of photos.......excellent photo and recipe idea.

  17. Thanks for your article,like your blog very much,well done.